Anthony Berardis had a major decision cooking on his front stove.
A wealth of major Division-I programs had been in persistent pursuit of the Mahopac midfielder. Everyone from a diddle-eyed Joe to a damned-if-I know inquired about the promising young gun, inundating his family mailbox with a UPS man's load of NCAA letters.
Mahopac, a traditional Division-I breeding ground wedged in between other local powers such as Yorktown, Somers, and Lakeland/Panas (though the mainstream local media rarely equated the Indians with the same lofty expectations and rankings as their more hyped foes), has produced another high-profile recruit.
The Division-I interest rapidly spiked following Berardis' breakout junior season.
With his stock growing, growing, growing--Berardis committed to Stony Brook.
As a poster boy for the 2011 Section 1 champions, the All-American candidate was one of few uncommitted players left standing. The Indians were piloted by a high-scoring man-child in T.J. Foley, a Temple-bound senior.
Foley, a veritable beast amongst boys, discovered clutch scoring. It helped propel Mahopac to regional and sectional championships.
Following his visit to the Long Island area school--where Berardis was sold on a scenic campus, the quality of the students, and a spanking new arena--arrived at his decision.
The team is under new management, following the recent hiring of Jim Nagle.
Nagle coached Colgate for 10 years, posting an 86-84 overall record and twice being named Patriot League Coach of the Year.
Next season, Berardis must assume immediate control of Mahopac's deep and balanced offensive cyborg.
Molded by two absolute lacrosse junkies in Mike and Dave Haddeland, Berardis evolved into a key cog who could attack the net with both hands, induce slides, score off one-on-one situations, and create.
The Haddelands, who authored playing careers at Mahopac themselves, never possessed a lefty of this caliber. They felt Berardis needed to develop and add new facets of his game.
With high-scoring 6-foot-2 middie John Brandofino taken by 2010 graduation, it was simply time to take the life jacket off Berardis.
Berardis became more aggressive.
Partly at his coaches' urging, partly at his newfound love for the sport (and aspirations to prolong his career at the next level), Berardis began to hunt for his shot.
Berardis stuck pivotal rips, scored on the fly, and contributed to Mahopac's equal opportunity, spread-the-rock-around scoring.
Dave and Mike Haddeland are still pushing Berardis' ascension. They want him to be as adept with his right hand, eventually emerging into an ambi-threat.
Similar to another Section I native in Ryan Fitzgerald (the former Putnam Valley gunslinger, now at St. John's), Berardis now thrives off the increased physicality.
He's ready to shoulder the scoring load and embrace the physical punishment that comes with it, absorbing the hits in front of the net.