The Battle of the Hotbeds Tournament is annually one of the premier events on the summer lacrosse recruiting calendar.
The event, which concluded last week, drew more than 50 teams from across the nation. Ward Melville of Setauket, Long Island, won championship by beating Team Florida 8-7 in overtime in the title game.
“We feel it’s the best summer event in terms of visibility,” said Lew Janavey, director of the West Rock program in New York Hudson Valley’s, which sent its Under-18 and Under-17 teams to the event.
WestRock was represented in the all-star game by two Division I-bound players: Erik Pfiffner of Somers (Colgate) and Shawn Honovich of Lakeland/Panas (Fairfield).
WestRock’s U-18 team had several impressive wins at Hotbeds, including a 14-1 victory against the Long Island Pride. It tied Northport 7-7 in its first game at the event.
John Jay midfielder bound for UMBC
John Jay rising senior Brandon Merlino was on a family vacation to his grandfather’s native Sicily last week. But that didn’t stop him from taking time out to make one of the most important decisions of his life.
The midfielder just gave a verbal commitment to attend Division I power University of Maryland-Baltimore County.
The 5-foot-8, 185-pound Merlino, who is fresh of an impressive showing at the Hotbeds tournament in which he made the all-star game, unofficially visited UMBC in late June. Merlino, a transfer from Arlington High School, also considered Division III powers Franklin & Marshall and Trinity.
Somers defensive star selects St. John's
Somers’ John Bello, one of the leading returning defensemen in the New York metro region for next season, just got off the phone moments ago with St. John’s coach Jason Miller.
Bello called Miller this evening to inform him he has accepted a scholarship offer from the Red Storm. The decision for the 6-foot, 180-pound Bello came quickly after a made an unofficial visit to St. John’s exactly one week ago.
“The visit was excellent,” said Bello, who also unofficially visited Sacred Heart. “I really liked the coaching staff. The school is beautiful and is pretty much everything I am looking for academically and athletically.”
St. John’s, which will compete in the newly-formed Big East Lacrosse Conference, picked up a 10-9 win over Georgetown during a 4-0 start to last season. The Red Storm lost their last eight games of the season to finish 5-9.
Bello, who was sidelined for most of the 2008 season with an injury, is a physical and aggressive takeaway defender who had a breakout junior season this past year, starring on a close defense that also included Eddie Schurr and Erik Zmuidins to help Somers win its first sectional title since 2006.
After the season, he was voted onto the 20-member LaxLessons.com all-region team as one of the six defensemen selected.
Joe Lombardi, who has been a fixture on the lacrosse scene during the sport’s rapid growth in the New York metropolitan area, produces editorial and video content for LaxLessons.com. He may be reached at email@example.com.