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Lacrosse Star Learned Game as Blaine Third-Grader and at Montrose Beach

 Lakeview resident Delaney Oliveira is a standout lacrosse player for Loyola Academy.
Lakeview resident Delaney Oliveira is a standout lacrosse player for Loyola Academy.
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Su Bermingham

CHICAGO — Delaney Oliveira fell in love with lacrosse when she was introduced to the sport as a third-grader at Blaine Elementary.

Now the Lakeview 15-year-old, who won a state championship as a Loyola Academy goalie this year, is heading to the Guardian National Championship — an invite-only event featuring some of the country's top 100 boys and girls lacrosse netminders.

Oliveira, a rising junior at Loyola, is the only participant from the July 27-30 competition in Manheim, Pa., who hails from Chicago.

"Receiving an invitation to compete against some of the most talented goaltenders in the nation is an incredible honor," Oliveira said.

Oliveira has been obsessed with lacrosse since third grade, when former Blaine principal Gladys Vacarezza invited the Illinois Girls Lacrosse Association to run a clinic at the school.

"They provided equipment and coaches, and I fell in love," Oliveira said.

Oliveira has played for the lacrosse association's Chicago team that competed at Montrose Beach in Uptown, and currently suits up for the Lakeshore Lacrosse travel squad, in addition to the Loyola varsity team. She helped Loyola win its record seventh state title this past season, holding opponents to 5.82 goals per game.

"We are thrilled that Delaney has the opportunity to show her talent" at the national championship, Loyola coach John Dwyer said. “She has worked tirelessly at her game and the results show."

The Guardian National Championship, in its second year, was created by pro goalie Ginny Capicchioni, the first woman in North America to sign with a men’s professional team and play in a men’s professional lacrosse game. It serves as a clinic to develop goalie skills as well as a recruiting tool for some of the nation's top programs.

Oliveira said she hopes to become the next Capicchioni.

"I love it when female athletes push the traditional sports boundaries and find ways to be successful," she said.

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