Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/23/13
The Hill Academy easily qualifies as one of the most unique programs in the TopLaxRecruits.com Noerth America Boys’ Rankings.
The school is located in Vaughan, Ontario, and plays all of its games vs. United States teams, nearly all of them on the road.
The Hill Academy (15-3) is ranked No. 6 this week after its impressive 15-10 conquest of No. 7 Culver Academy (IN) on Sunday. Besides the win over the Eagles, Hill’s biggest victories this year were over No. 4 Gonzaga (DC), 7-6, and over No. 10 Calvert Hall (MD), 10-7.
Hill Academy is headed by seven-year coach Brodie Merrill, a member of the Hamilton Nationals of the MLL, the captain of the Philadelphia Wings of the NLL and a former All-American and Defensive Player of the Year at Georgetown University. He also was named All-World when he helped the Canadian National team to the historic 2006 World Cup championship.
Most of the Hill players are from Canada, where field lacrosse is growing quickly in an area where most still grow up playing box lacrosse. The squad annually includes several Americans. There are upper varsity and lower varsity teams and also a PG team that plays college freshman clubs.
“The upper varsity has performed performed really well this year,” said Merrill. “They have real good chemistry. The group has been together a real long time.
“Some have gone through what I would say are some growing pains early in their high school careers and now they have really learned. What stands out to me is how much this group enjoys being around each other. this is a once-in-a-while group and I think we are in position to have a great year.
“We have a lot of strong leadership.”
Hill Academy features 11 Division I and two Division II signees in its senior class. Most notable are Denver signees Zach Miller (midfielder) and dallas bridle (attackman).
Despite all the travel, Merrill said the players miss little or no school. Many of the trips are done on weekends and a southern trip to Maryland and nearby areas was made during Spring Break.
“Every student in our school has an I-Pad and they stay well connected with their teachers and actually have study hall times on the road,” Merrill said. “We pick spots for (trips). To be honest they miss very little class time.
“That is a priority of ours. You can’t compromise that. We have to be smart with scheduling and make sure the guys stay well connected with their teachers. they are held accountable that way.”
The TopLaxRecruits North America Boys’ Rankings:
1. Boys’ Latin, Md. (13-0) Prev: No. 1
2. Chaminade, N.Y. (8-0) Prev: No. 2
3. St. Paul’s School, Md. (13-1) Prev: No. 4
4. Gonzaga, D.C. (13-2) No. 6
5. Ward Melville, N.Y. (9-0) Prev: No. 17
6. Hill Academy, Ontario (15-3) Prev: No. 10
7. Culver Academy, Ill. (9-2) Prev: No. 5
8. Gilman School, Md. (8-2) Prev: No. 7
9. Jamesville-DeWitt, N.Y. (8-0) Prev: No. 13
10. Calvert Hall, Md. (7-3) Prev: No. 8
11. St. Ignatius Prep, Cal. (15-0) Prev: No. 11
12. Episcopal Academy, Pa. (9-3) Prev: NR
13. Delbarton, N.J. (7-0) Prev: No. 14
14. Malvern Prep, Pa. (8-1) Prev: No. 12
15. La Salle, Pa. (7-2) Prev: No. 15
16. McDonogh School, Md. (9-3) Prev: NR
17. Brunswick School, CT (6-0) Prev: No. 16
18. Garden City, N.Y. (6-2) Prev: No. 9
19. Shoreham-Wading River, N.Y. (8-0) Prev: NR
20. The Woodlands, TX (18-0) Prev: NR
Under consideration: Deerfield Academy, CT (6-1); Haverford School, Pa. (8-4); Hereford, Md. (8-2); Ithaca, N.Y. (8-0); Niskayuna, NY (7-0); Northport, N.Y. (8-1); Ridgefield, CT (6-0); Smithtown East, N.Y. (8-1); Smithtown West, N.Y. (8-2); St. Anthony’s, N.Y. (6-2); West Islip, N.Y. (7-2).