Fanelli Brothers: A legacy of excellence at Eastern
In a 21-8 win over Hood College in the final game of the 2023 regular season, #7 Nicholas Fanelli ’23 became both the career and single-season points leader for Eastern Men’s Lacrosse. The following game, he would become the first Eastern player to record a 100-point season.
Most Eastern Men’s Lacrosse players consider their teammates to be family. For Nicholas, however, that is more than a feeling. In his four years playing with the Eagles, Nicholas has always had a brother close.
When he arrived in St. Davids, his older brother Kyle ’20 was a senior who was emerging as a goal-scoring midfielder. With COVID shutting down the 2020 season and reducing the length of the 2021 season, the duo only played 20 games together.
In just their second game together, the two had their first Fanelli-Fanelli scoring combination, and they did it both ways. Nicholas finished a pass from Kyle early in the third quarter, and then Kyle scored off a pass from Nicholas 12 minutes later. The two would combine only one more time in 2020. Kyle finished that year with six goals and two assists and Nicholas had 11 goals and five helpers. Kyle decided to come back as a graduate student in 2021.
That year, the two brothers were atop the Eastern points table. Nicholas scored 43 goals and had 20 assists. Kyle scored 33 goals and had 18 helpers. With their three younger brothers following on live streams early in the season and from the hill once fans were allowed to return, they combined on goals 19 times.
After Kyle finished his time at Eastern, he passed on his #1 jersey to the next Fanelli brother, Christopher ’25, who arrived on campus to continue the family legacy. He set up Nicholas for a goal in his first game, but the two brothers finally connected in earnest when Christopher joined the starting attack for the Arcadia game. Christopher scored five times. Three of those goals came on passes from his brother. Over his first two seasons, Christopher scored an impressive 90 times. Thirty-three of his goals came from Nicholas.
All told, the Fanelli brothers have accounted for 291 goals and 175 assists since Kyle scored his first collegiate goal in 2018.
“Nicholas really embraces the brotherhood mindset,” First-year Head Coach Colin Piper said. “Outside of practice, Nicholas is dedicated to his craft. He works tirelessly on his shot, footwork and stick skills. He is never alone. Like his big brother, he always pulled his little brother out to the field.”
The Education major from Perkasie is slated to return with brother Christopher for the 2024 season. Younger brothers Frankie and Rocco will compete at Pennridge High School, and Matteo, the youngest, will continue to roam the sidelines creating fabulous content for Instagram.
Even as years pass, Eastern University Men’s Lacrosse will continue to grow as brothers. In the middle of it all, there will be Fanellis.