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Recruiting rule delay does not deter Long Island defender from finding her perfect match

Monday, 4th September 2017

Categories Girl's/Women's, High school, Recruiting  

By Chris Goldberg, Posted 9/4/17

Kerry Dillon knew she had found her perfect college match – only to find that an NCAA rule change would put a moratorium on the process.

Kerry Dillon (defending)

The Westhampton Beach 2019 defender said she was “heartbroken” almost 5 months ago when she realized she would not be able to finalize her commitment to Iona College.

“It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the coaching mentality of both (head) Coach (Michelle) Mason and Assistant Coach (Courtney) Bertolone,” said Dillon who made her Iona commitment official on Friday as soon as 2019s could begin to announce their choices. “I can recall countless phone calls with both coaches about my future at Iona and what I was looking for in the recruiting process, but what drew me in the most was their obvious appreciation for me and the process in which I was going through as a student athlete.

“To them I wasn’t just another commit, but an actual person they took the time to get to know. Right around the time I was ready to finalize the process and commit to Iona, the new NCAA rule dropped. I had an important phone call the night of the rule change, and I can still remember how heartbroken I was to receive the news when my mom came home from work.”

But when the Sept. 1 date came and college coaches were again able to communicate with rising juniors, Iona was still the perfect choice.

“I had an important phone call the night of the rule change, and I can still remember how heartbroken I was to receive the news when my mom came home from work,” said Dillon, who started as a sophomore on defense for a Westhampton Beach team that reached the Suffolk County Class C semifinals. “Needless to say, I was determined to stick with Iona, and I actually called Coach Mason that night and left her a voicemail summing up how upset I was, but also how excited I was to get on the phone with her come September 1st.

“The morning of September 1st was definitely nerve racking, but you can always count on Coach Mason for a text at 6am to set up a call. That day I got to speak to her and I couldn’t be more excited to hear her voice after a very long 4.5 months of waiting. The next day I got back on the phone with her and both my parents and discussed further into the plan and finalized details.

“After the call, I talked to my parents about the opportunity presented to me and how I was ready to take it. I couldn’t handle the anticipation and called Coach Mason back to tell her I’d like to continue my career at Iona. I then called Coach Bertolone who had already heard the news. I couldn’t be more grateful for this opportunity to continue the game of women’s lacrosse at Iona. I also couldn’t be more thankful to both my now future coaches, Coach Mason and Coach Bertolone for keeping their commitment to me, as I kept my commitment to them during these long 4.5 months we could not talk.”

What first drew Dillon to Iona?

“My recruit story is actually not your typical one,” said Dillon, who plays for the Long Island Yellowjackets. “I met Coach Bertolone at an all day Winter Blitz clinic in Pennsylvania back in January, 2017. From then on, it was nonstop communication with both Coach Bertolone and Coach Mason.

“I met Coach Mason at the Iona 5v5 tournament held on Long Island. After, I was able to get on the phone with both Coach Mason and Coach Bertolone and discuss a future visit. I visited the campus twice, once to see the Gaels take on Lehigh and another to shadow a freshman, go to class, and watch a lift and practice. They also came to my high school game against New Canaan.

“Coach Mason and Coach Bertolone kept a close eye on me all summer as I saw them almost every tournament and also in attendance to one of my games during each tournament. The final end to this summer was the Iona Gaels Elite Summer camp at the end of July. I had my mind set on Iona and I knew this was the last time that I could prove how much this all meant to me to both Coach Mason and Coach Bertolone.

“Camp was a huge eye opener as I got to meet three commits from my 2019 class, but all the rest of the 2018 and 2017 commits. I had one of the best times and had the opportunity to play with some of the best lacrosse players I had ever seen. Although the rule cut into my recruiting process, I can see how it benefited me.

“It gave me time to grow over the summer and I got to see the campus for three days at camp. It made me be able to clearly see myself at Iona and call it home. After camp I went to see my cousin who lives near by campus, and everything became to clearly fit into place. I knew I had a great showing at camp and was excited for what September 1st had in store.”

Indeed it did!

Note: Kerry Dillon’s full commitment story will appear Tuesday night



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