Recruiting Interview with Head Coach Jon Black of the Men’s Lacrosse Team at Notre Dame de Namur University

Coach Jon Black, Head Coach of the Notre Dame de Namur University Argonauts in Belmont, CA, stepped into my office the other day to answer some questions for all of our soon to be student-athletes out there. Coach Black played at NDNU from 2004-2008 where he had a 41-11 record while consistently being in the top-10 of all Division II Lacrosse programs. He then stopped at the High School Lacrosse level to coach at Carlmont High School in Belmont, in the same area as NDNU. This was just a pit stop of experience for him because in 2015 he was named the head coach of his alumnus, NDNU. On top of being the head coach of the Lacrosse team, he is also the Assistant Director of admissions at the University. You can say, Coach Black is a very key part of the NDNU community.

 

1. What type of players do you look for and where? What do you look for in a recruit? What type of player best fits your program?
We pride ourselves as having one of (if not) the most diverse roster in the NCAA with players coming from all over the nation. We’ve had players from New York, Virginia, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Texas, Oregon, Washington, Canada, and all over California. Regardless of region, we look for players who have the talent to make an immediate impact as soon as they step foot on campus. Some larger Division II lacrosse programs have roster sizes up to 80-85 players and you rarely see players on the field until their junior year. Here at NDNU, we like to keep the roster no larger than low to mid 30’s, ensuring that guys can step in right away and make their mark on the program.

 

2. What is the best way for players to get on your recruiting radar?
Two words: Email and Film. There are hundreds of thousands of talented lacrosse players around the nation (and the globe). Don’t assume a coach knows about you unless you’ve actually received an individual correspondence from them! Often, the best way to get a hold of a coach is to simply browse that school’s athletic website and find the coach’s email.  I wouldn’t recommend calling a coach as the first method of contact.  A simple email with an introduction, name, position, and graduation year along with a link to highlight film is perfect. The coach will reach out to you if they are interested in communicating further.

 

3. What areas of player development would you recommend players focus on to elevate their game?
As much as hitting the wall and throwing around with your friends helps with skill building, here at the NCAA level, we’re looking for players who not only have those basic skills but truly understand the game (“Lacrosse IQ”). Lacrosse IQ is a truly invaluable trait to have, especially at the NCAA level where everything like checks, shots, etc come a lot faster.  Having a player know how to read and anticipate what’s going to happen before it happens is truly the best skill a player can have. Be a true student of the game and always think a play ahead!  This skill only comes with experience, so play as much lacrosse as possible before you get to the next level.

 

4. What common recruiting mistakes should players and parents avoid? 
Not many student-athletes understand the difference between divisions at the NCAA level.  There are many pros and cons with every division and school. For example, the Division II level typically consists of smaller institutions with some colleges and universities having only 500-1,000 undergraduate students. It’s all about “fit.”  If you like smaller, more intimate environments who typically take their athletics seriously, you’ll enjoy most Division II schools. At the same time, if you are looking for a huge school with football games on campus and tens of thousands of students walking around, you may not enjoy the Division II atmosphere.  We’re fortunate here at NDNU because we’re the only Division II school in the entire state of California and west of Colorado.  With some of the best weather in the world, being steps away from Silicon Valley (Google, Apple, Facebook, etc), only 20 minutes from both San Francisco and San Jose and 15 minutes to the nearest beach, NDNU is quickly becoming one of the premier universities on the west coast, especially for lacrosse.  The most important thing to do is tour the campus and meet with the coach.  Get a sense of their “coaching philosophy” to see if that’s a school you can see yourself.  And finally, making a college decision is not a one-year decision…it’s a four-year decision!

 

5. What should a recruit include in a message to you that will draw your attention? Contrary to what recruits might think, I don’t want players to attend NDNU “just to play lacrosse.” Here at NDNU, we think much bigger than that!  There’s no doubt you will have one of the best student-athlete experiences in the nation as a lacrosse player at NDNU, but we’re always asking our players to think beyond lacrosse and beyond themselves.  In fact, we place a high emphasis on community engagement and for three out of the last four years, the lacrosse program has been awarded the Athletic Department’s Community Engagement Award for the number of hours of service in the local community. Over the last four years, we’ve completed nearly 4,000 hours of community service and raised nearly $20,000 for various non-profit organizations.

 

ConnectLAX is a third party recruiting service and not affiliated with or endorsed by Jon Black or Notre Dame de Namur University. 

“The best way to get on my recruiting radar is to send me an email” Recruiting interview with head coach Shannon Hertz at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

 

Shannon Hertz has been the head coach of women’s lacrosse since October of 2014. She came to Bloomsburg after three seasons as an assistant coach at Catholic University of America and two seasons at Lock Haven University. During her time at CUA she helped lead the Cardinals to 36 victories, 2 Landmark Conference championships, 2 NCAA Tournament appearances and a spot in the 2012 NCAA Regional Final. Further on, during her time at Lock Haven, she was named the 2009 IWLCA Divison II Assistant Coach of the Year! Hertz lead the Bald Eagles to a runner-up finish in the 2009 NCAA Tournament and a semifinal appearance in 2010 when they won back-to-back conference titles.

Shannon Hertz attended Boyertown High School (Pa.) where she was the captain on the field hockey, basketball and lacrosse teams. She then graduated from Lock Haven in 2008 with a bachelors degree in recreation management.

  1. What do you look for in a recruit? What type of player best fits your program?

I look for someone who is hard working, coachable, and wants to put the team first. The type of player that best fits my program is someone who loves Bloomsburg and Lacrosse! I think that you really need to love the school you attend to be happy there. I look for positive players on and off the field. We spend a lot of time together, so you need to be able to get along the majority of the time.

  1. What is the best way for players to get on your recruiting radar?

The best way to get on my recruiting radar is to send me an email themselves. (Not their parents) I like to get to know the players during the recruiting process since the players are the ones who I am bringing on to my team.

  1. What areas of player development should recruits be focused on?

I believe players need to focus on their fitness and being extremely comfortable with their sticks. Being able to use both, their dominant and non-dominant hand will make them more versatile on the field.

  1. What common recruiting mistakes should players and parents avoid?

I think it is a turn off to coaches is when they hear from a parent vs. their daughter. I would encourage the players to make contact with the coach.

  1. What should a recruit include in a message to you that will draw your attention?

I think that a recruit should just be as honest as possible throughout the process. If you are interested in a school make sure to let that coach know you are interested and why! I want to know players want my school, just as they want coaches to want them.

 

ConnectLAX is a third party recruiting service and not affiliated with or endorsed by Shannon Herts or Bloomsburg University.

Gary Mercadante Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach @ Delaware Valley University Interview

Gary Mercadante was named the first-ever men’s lacrosse head coach in Delaware Valley history on August 12, 2013. After spending the first year organizing the program an Delaware Valleyd recruiting, he has led the squad to 13 wins and one conference playoff appearance in just two seasons of competition. Mercadante led the 2015 edition to five wins – the most victories by an Aggie team in any sport in their inaugural season. They won the program’s first-ever game, an 8-7 triumph over Immaculata University, and produced victories in three of its first four games. Prior to coming to Delaware Valley, Mercadante spent four years as a full-time assistant coach at nearby Ursinus College. He was the defensive coordinator for the Bears and also coached the man down unit as well as running the substitution box. Mercadante also served as the team’s academic, budget, recruiting and video editing/software coordinator.

  1. What do you look for in a recruit? What type of player best fits your program?

While evaluating on the field we always look for athleticism and consistent effort.  We play a fast tempo style of lacrosse and want players who can sustain that effort and intensity for 60+ minutes.  Players tend to evaluate their own play based on the time they spend with the ball or covering the ball, but this is only a small percentage of the game.  I always make a point to watch off-ball to see if a player does the little things consistently well.  Among many others, these can include setting screens, back cutting, chasing out shots, winning GBs, picking off passes in a skip lane, and being in position to cover two players at once. Once the recruiting process begins, we spend a lot of time getting to know student-athletes and their families.  We want great people who want to leave our University and program a better place than when they got here.

  1. What is the best way for players to get on your recruiting radar?

Have a plan.  If you are interested in a school, reach out to the coach with a personal email. Let us know why you are interested and where you will be playing (tournaments, club team, etc.). Do your research. I am impressed when I speak with a student-athlete who is knowledgeable about our university, what we offer, and our program. It demonstrates you have taken the time to educate yourself about us and have a legitimate interest in the school and our team.

  1. What areas of player development should recruits be focused on?

There is a lot of pressure on young players right now to focus all their time and effort strictly on lacrosse.  Be an athlete!  Multi-sport players demonstrate stronger IQ’s and develop quicker as athletes.  Some of the best players I have coached were two sport athletes in high school competing in sports such as football, hockey, and basketball.  The skills they acquired from these sports helped them immensely on the lacrosse field.  Lastly, your stick should be an extension of your arm.  Commit to the wall on a weekly basis with fun and realistic wall ball routines.

  1. What common recruiting mistakes should players and parents avoid?

In navigating the landscape of college recruiting, it is important to view it as a job process.  You are currently building your resume and everything you do as a student-athlete on and off the field is a part of that resume.  Before you even search for the job you must first do a few important things: A phone call is our primary point of contact with student-athletes. Start by creating a simple, mature voicemail.  College coaches will call you on your phone and you want to leave a strong first impression.  Also, make sure your voicemail is not full.  Eventually a coach will stop calling if they are unable to get in touch with you and cannot leave a voicemail. This sounds very simple, but happens much more than people would think.  Second, create an email account with an easy to use address that you can use for tournaments and college coaches.  Do not use your parent’s email address. Take ownership of the college search process.  Players often make the mistake of mass emailing us through recruiting services or having their parents send emails for them.  An email from a parent on behalf of a student-athlete is a big red flag.  The student-athlete will take on all the responsibility once they get to the college level and it does not project well when a parent does everything for the them.

  1. What should a recruit include in a message to you that will draw your attention?

We pride ourselves on responding to every personal email we receive.  A well written email from a student-athlete that shows genuine interest in our University and program gets our immediate attention.  Don’t be afraid to promote your success as a student and athlete.  Lastly, include a highlight film.  The quicker we can evaluate your play, the sooner we can begin the recruiting process.

 

ConnectLAX is a third party recruiting service and not affiliated with or endorsed by Gary Mercadante or Delaware Valley University Interview

New NCAA recruiting rules = better college matches

It’s been widely reported how proposal 2017-1 banned any recruiting contact between college coaches and PSAs (prospective student athletes) until Sept. 1 of the recruit’s junior year.

Many of us know how many D1 programs there are (71 men’s, 112 women’s) and how many scholarships each program can give (12.6 men’s, 12 women’s) if fully funded (roughly half are).

But what’s much less reported and harder to find is the number of college transfers every year. As a community, we kept saying college is a 40-year, not a 4-year decision, and then we asked high school freshman to make this decision anyway.

As a company, we take great pride in our free College Matching Service.

But during webinars or at team recruiting nights, the irony of showing freshman how to filter college programs by major wasn’t lost on us. More time to develop their college preferences, not more filters, was what they needed.

We’re excited for this change as we believe it will help recruits focus on academics, enjoy their high school experience, better develop their college preferences and ultimately get recruited to the right school. We hope that it will reverse the increase in college transfers as recruits will have more time to find the right fit both on and off the field.

Here’s what we know based on our understanding. Formal legislation is yet to be published.

Players and Parents

Men’s and women’s D1 college coaches may not make off-campus contact with PSAs or reach out by phone, social media or during unofficial campus visits. So no meeting with the coaching staff during unofficial visits. We understand that prospect days (on-campus) are permitted but contact is limited to feedback on the recruit’s athletic ability, not their recruiting process.

Parents fall under the same rules as PSAs and thus may not act an intermediary. Club and high school coaches may not be used to circumvent these recruiting contact rules. Specifically, direct messaging or communication about verbal offers through these third parties is not permissible.

It is our understanding that college coaches can still speak with club and high school coaches in an evaluative process, such as about a recruit’s play at an event or their position on a college’s recruiting radar. With contact between college coaches and families restricted, we believe that a recruit’s coaches will increasingly assist in their recruiting process.

Based on our conversations, college coaches will still be targeting and recruiting high school underclassman. They will benefit from seeing recruits play more and being able to commit to a more developed player, also having a longer academic track record to evaluate and less concern over recommits. We recommend recruits continue to message coaches at their target schools and share their highlight videos and academic updates.

It’s widely understood that existing verbal commitments will be grandfathered and honored by college coaches. However, PSAs in the 2019, 2020 and 2021 classes that have already verbally committed will be unable to speak with the coaching staffs at their future schools.

Given this rule is effective immediately, many families nearing the end of the recruiting process in it’s current accelerated timeline will have to wait. We imagine this is frustrating, like walking into class to turn in a paper and finding the due date has been pushed back even though you were ready. And now communication is more limited. We hope that the delay results in a better college decision for the recruit. We also understand the counterpoint that deciding between Duke, UVA and Cornell is not inherently a bad decision. Again, it’s typically a commitment to the admissions process, not admission, as the recruit doesn’t have their test scores yet.

As the above illustrates, it’s a delicate issue as parents want the best for their children and lacrosse is a tool to get into a great academic institution. These rule changes do not change that, they just require patience in a process that has been in short supply of it.

Last, this only impacts 190 men’s and women’s NCAA Division I programs, not the 753 Division II and III men’s and women’s programs (includes new programs). We believe college lacrosse at any level matters and include over 1,500 programs in our college matching service.

Club and HS Coaches

Many club coaches we’ve spoken with are excited given committed players can be question marks for attending practice and events, which can frustrate other players on the team trying to get recruited. This dynamic within teams has helped fuel the pressure, often premature, to commit.

As mentioned, club and high school coaches may not be used to circumvent these recruiting contact rules. Specifically, direct messaging or communication about verbal offers through these third parties is not permissible. It is our understanding that college coaches can still speak with club coaches in an evaluative process, such as about a recruit’s play at an event or their position on a college’s recruiting radar.

Enforcing these new rules falls to compliance officers at colleges, who will be screening calls more closely as clubs can no longer set up a call between college coaches and recruits. While it’s understood that existing offers will be honored and grandfathered in, be mindful that some college coaches may use the rule change to change their position. Club coaches may want to validate their recruit’s commitments.

We believe club coaches will gain influence as a result of the new rules. High school coaches too given recruits won’t be committing as underclassman. Organization will be key for club coaches as the floodgates will be opening for all recruits at once.

Report: Hopkins Protests Northwestern Game, Controversial Late Goal

Johns Hopkins coach Janine Tucker has formally filed a protest with the Big Ten Conference, according to the Baltimore Sun’s Kathy Dunn.

The protest asserts that the goal in question came after time had expired in the March 30th tilt. The Sheila Nesselbush shot, which was ruled a goal by the referees onsite, pushed the game into overtime — a period in which the Wildcats struck first, ultimately taking home the 10-9 overtime win.

A closer look at the shot in slow motion shows that the ball is still in Nesselbush’s stick as time had expired. The NCAA rule book, Section 9c, stipulates that “a goal is not scored when the ball enters the goal after the whistle has blown or the horn sounds.”

According to Dunn, this is the first time Janine Tucker has protested a game in her illustrious 24 year career at the helm of the Blue Jays.

“The protest rules exist for this very reason. I am hopeful that by following the protocol to protest the outcome of this game, something good can come from all of this,” Tucker told the Baltimore Sun.

She continued: “I felt compelled, given the situation, the video evidence, just knowing that it was physically impossible for a person to throw a ball that far in that amount of time, and I needed to fight for my team.”

On March 31st, we posted a slow-motion clip of the shot in question and asked fans if they thought the shot was a goal or not. An overwhelming 80% of fans voted “no goal.”

River Hawks Face 10-7 Set Back Against AE Foe New Hampshire

LOWELL, Mass. – With an assist at 18:28 in the first half, sophomore Jane Dudley (Duxbury, Mass.) established a new single season program record with her career-high 26th point. Despite her efforts, the UMass Lowell women’s lacrosse team dropped to 6-4 overall and 0-2 in conference play, after being clipped by New Hampshire (2-10, 2-1 AE) in America East action on Wednesday evening.

Dudley tallied three points (1g, 2a,) en route to her record setting performance, notching her 10th multi-point game of 2017. Additionally, the sophomore’s 14 assists so far this season surpass former River Hawk Jesse Jay for first place in the record books.

Junior goalkeeper Courtney Barrett (South Burlington, Vt.) racked up 12 saves in the tilt, while pacing the team with five ground balls and two caused turnovers.

“Today was a tough one, as we were looking to continue to defend our home turf,” said Head Coach Carissa Medeiros. “We did fairly well in the first half, but let go of some of our controllables in the second half, as some of our continuous mistakes came back to haunt us. New Hampshire did a good job capitalizing on our mistakes, we just have to make sure we can execute our game plan.”

A tightly contested first half swayed in favor of UMass Lowell, who carried a slight, 4-3, edge after 30 minutes of play. New Hampshire later over came two-goal second half deficit thanks to a 6-0 run that provided the Wildcats with a late lead they would fail to relinquish.

Junior attack Austin Trasatti (Doylestown, Pa.) and sophomores Dudley, Rebecca Idson (East Atlantic Beach, N.Y.) and Kendyl Finelli (Southborough, Mass.) netted a goal apiece to contribute to the River Hawks’ the fist half lead. Dudley and Trasatti broke open the scoring with back-to-back goals at 28:53 and 27:47, respectively, before the Wildcats Devon Croke made it a 2-1 contest. Idson later provided her team with a two-goal cushion, 3-1, when she tacked on her 21st goal of the season at 18:28. New Hampshire would soon fight back to knot the game 3-3, but a late goal by Finelli would lift the River Hawks to a 4-3 advantage with 39 seconds remaining.

UMass Lowell managed to grab an early 6-4 edge in the final half, after outscoring their opponents, 2-1, in the opening minutes. The River Hawks were led by Finelli and Trasatti who picked up their second goals of the contest with unassisted scores.

The Wildcats went on to string together six consecutive goals, aiding the themselves to comfortable 9-6 lead. During the run, New Hampshire snagged their first lead of the game, 7-6, on a breakaway by Devan Miller at 14:06.

Junior attack Kaylan DiModugno (Deer Park, N.Y.) looked to give her team a spark when she cut the deficit to 10-7 with 4:15 remaining. DiMudugno spilt a pair of defenders before bringing her team within three, but a New Hampshire defense held strong as they blanked the River Hawks in the final minutes to secure the 10-7 victory.

UMass Lowell is back in action on Saturday, April 8 against conference foe UAlbany. The contest is slated to begin at 11:00 a.m. at Wicked Blue Turf.

Jack Cain (’19 Defenseman) Commits to Dartmouth College!!

Oooooh yeah! The Varsity Lacrosse Captain of Hinsdale Central High School, Jack Cain, has made the big decision to play college lacrosse at Dartmouth College!! Throughout the years that Jack played for Hinsdale Central High School and True Lacrosse, he has been awarded West Suburban (Chicago) Conference Honorable Mention as a freshman, Chicago Showcase All Star, and was also a member of the Brine National Illinois 2019 All American Team. During his search for the perfect college, he also considered Navy and UMass, but loved that Dartmouth gave him the “opportunity to combine high level education with Ivy lacrosse” and he “loves the direction the new coaching staff is heading”. Jack is excited to start his journey at Dartmouth, but not without giving a special thank you to his True Lacrosse coaches and teammates for the continued support!

Two Sport Athlete

If you ask any college athlete they will tell you playing a sport in college is equivalent to having a full time job. Playing one sport is hard enough let alone trying to multitask two sports. Kenzie Kent is one of the very few superior athletes that is capable of managing two sports in college. Kenzie plays hockey and lacrosse for Boston College and she contributes incredibly at both.  Kenzie helped Boston College’s hockey team make it to the national semifinal but would lose to Wisconsin 1-0. After that devastating lose she carries that pain and motivation onto the turf filed as she begins her lacrosse season. What Kenzie is accomplishing ispurely amazing considering the fact that she plays two sports that happen back to back. Hockey can be very demanding of someones body and then to jump right into lacrosse, well that shows passion for how much she truly loves these sports. Hockey runs from September through March and lacrosse runs from March to May, so the amount of wear and tear that Kenzie places on her body is astonishing. She always Continue reading…

Ethan Bell (’18 Goalie) Commits to Bridgewater College!

CONGRATULATIONS Ethan Bell on your big decision to play D3 Lacrosse at Bridgewater College!

Ethan is a goalie for Kellam High School and 757 Select. He will be attending Bridgewater College after his graduation next spring. He considered other schools such as Christopher Newport University and Lebanon Valley College, but ultimately decided that Bridgewater would be the best choice to excel in both lacrosse and academics. He would like to thank his parents and all of his coaches for their continued support over the years of his lacrosse career.

Chase LaDrido’s Makes Final Decision

Chase LaDrido is 14 years old and has already made a commitment of where he wants to play lacrosse after high school. Chase decided to go with Johns Hopkins and Chase became the first west coast player of the 2020 class to commit to a Division 1 men’s lacrosse. Chase’s biggest reason for committing so soon was because of the agony of a high school recruiting process. Anyone who has been recruited out of high school knows this process all to well. The numerous phone calls, the constant promises, and the why our program is better. This can take a lot out of a high school student when they are trying to focus on grades and also improving their game for the next level. The NCAA are working elegantly on passing rule that would ban college coaches communicating with student athletes until their junior year and this could happen as soon as April. Chase’s parents are happy with his decision and think it will make it easier on Chase. They believe that not worrying about applying and making college visits will allow their son to dedicate more time improving in class and on the field.