By Lindsay Kramer (Syracuse.com)
Syracuse, N.Y. — Charlie Bertrand is about to test his lacrosse development at the highest level possible.
Bertrand, an attack out of Baldwinsville, is transferring from Merrimack to Virginia. Virginia, an ACC rival of Syracuse, was the 2019 NCAA champion. The news was first reported by Inside Lacrosse.
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Bertrand was a senior with Merrimack this year but is taking advantage of a NCAA waiver allowing spring sports athletes whose seasons were cut short by the coronavirus an extra year of eligibility.
Bertrand said he considered staying at Merrimack, and also said he thought about making a move to other schools such as Notre Dame, Delaware and Richmond. Bertrand, who will get his masters degree in commerce, said the combination of Virginia’s academics and lacrosse excellence was the right combination for him.
“They have a similar style of play that I’m used to playing in,” Bertrand said. “I know I’m walking into a culture that’s motivated to win. The ACC is the toughest conference in the country. On top of the academic opportunity, the chance to play at the highest level is something I’m looking forward to. I’m just going to go in there with an open mind and do what I can to help the team win.”
Bertrand said Virginia was able to help him out with some scholarship money, although he didn’t specify the amount.
“Ranked as IL’s No. 6 Grad Transfer last month, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound left-handed initiator will help the ‘Hoos tremendously as they look to replace Michael Kraus, regardless of where Bertrand fits within Virginia’s offense,” Inside Lacrosse wrote. “Matt Moore and Ian Laviano have been mainstays on the attack since arriving in Charlottesville, combining for 97 goals for the NCAA champions in 2019, while redshirt freshman Payton Cormier posted 19 points while running out of the box during the shortened 2020 season.
“Bertrand’s arrival could help alleviate any pressure on fellow lefty Cormier, a natural attackman who found a ton of success as a midfielder and wing presence. Former No. 1 recruit Connor Shellenberger redshirted in 2020, so he’ll be another highly capable option for offensive coordinator Sean Kirwan.”
Bertrand will be taking a big step up in competition from Merrimack, a Division II power that was playing its first season in Division I this year. Bertrand led the team with 18 goals and 23 points in six games. He was on the watch list for the college lacrosse’s Tewaraaton Award.
That pace was a carryover from his Division II career, where he established himself as perhaps the best player in the country at that level. He was a three-time All-American and a two-time national player of the year for Merrimack and buried 78 goals in leading the team to the Division II title as a junior.
“Once I got settled in, I think I did well,” he said earlier of his adjustment to Division I. “I definitely had some good games. I definitely believe I belong at that level. I think it’s just the consistency week to week. Every team is good. Every team’s got athletes. I think individual matchup-wise, I did good against my defenders.”