By Dylan Butler
It was just too easy, too familiar for Richie Lesmes.
The Newtown standout, one of the top soccer players in New York City, could have easily gone to St. Francis College, where his older brothers David and George Lesmes were already playing.
But Lesmes wanted to forge his own destiny, away from his brothers. So the Jackson Heights native instead chose Division I St. Peter’s College.
“I couldn’t play with my brothers at all,” said Lesmes, the TimesLedger PSAL Soccer Player of the Year. “I wanted to be somewhere different, but at the same time where I know a lot of the players.”
Lesmes, who chose St. Peter’s over Boston College, Virginia Commonwealth and St. John’s, is one of several Queens standouts to play Division I soccer next year.
Long Island City standout Carlos Moncaleano, a teammate of Lesmes’ at the Metropolitan Oval-based Brooklyn Knights, also wanted to get out of the city and found a home at Division I Stony Brook.
Moncaleano, a TimesLedger first-team All-Queens center midfielder from Jackson Heights, said the newly constructed 8,000-seat Seawolves Stadium was a major selling point.
“Once I saw it, I wanted to play on it. It’s like the Oval,” Moncaleano said of the stadium, which has the same FieldTurf surface as the Metropolitan Oval. “I don’t want to stay in the city, I want to leave. I’m going to get distracted (in the city). I want to do what I have to do.”
Elvir Prasovic, arguably the top goalkeeper in the PSAL this year, will play at Farleigh Dickinson University in the fall. The Newcomers senior, also on the TimesLedger All-Queens first team, averaged more than 20 saves per game and picked FDU over St. Francis College and Columbia University.
Bayside defender Jason Knese, whose senior season was cut short by a knee injury, will play soccer at Army in the fall. The Commodores leader on and off the field, a defender who was good in the air and on the ground and always seemed to make the perfect pass, chose Army over Northeastern and Holy Cross.
Rounding out the PSAL signings are Francis Lewis goalkeeper Tommy Martello and Michael Moncada, who will each play for Whitestone native Carlo Acquista at St. Francis College.
Also playing for the Terriers next season will be Michael Massa, a former midfield standout at Holy Cross who transferred from Division III Mount St. Vincent College, and Adrian Benitez, a goalkeeping star at Francis Lewis three years, who transferred from Ulster Community College.
They join an impressive recruiting class that includes forward Peter Ramirez, a transfer from St. John’s out of Sachem High School, Arthur Kulkov from Sheepshead Bay via Globe Institute, Moore Catholic star midfielder Rob Wilkes and keeper Paul Varani, both standouts on the Brooklyn Knights Super Under-18 Y-League squad.
Joining Rutgers-bound Holy Cross midfielder Tamer Mohammed among CHSAA signings is Molloy star Gabe Ortega, who will play at Loyola (Md.) in the fall. The senior midfielder, a member of the United States Under-18 national pool, led the Stanners in assists despite missing a month to injury. Ortega, a member of the TimesLedger CHSAA All-Queens first team, chose Loyola over St. John’s, Hofstra, Boston College and Seton Hall.
Ortega’s Molloy teammate Rob Sardis, one of the most dangerous strikers in the CHSAA, will play at Fordham in the fall. The 5-foot-6 Howard Beach native, a three-year starter at Molloy, also battled through injury and picked Fordham over Adelphi, Fairfield and Hofstra.
Rounding out the list of Division I players are Edwin Montes and Ryan Reyes, who helped lead undefeated St. John’s Prep to a second straight CHSAA ‘B’ title. The Red Storm senior midfielders will head to Iona College in the fall.
St. John’s junior pitcher Joe Reid closed out the regular season on fire, sharing co-Big East Pitcher of the Week honors with Rutgers lefty Shaun Parker, the conference announced Monday.
After three hard-luck weeks, Reid finally earned a win for the Red Storm, allowing five hits in a 3-0 complete game shutout in the opener of a doubleheader at Seton Hall Saturday.
The Rutherford, N.J. native struck out eight and walked three to improve to 3-3.
When Kim Barnes Arico was introduced as the new St. John’s women’s basketball coach last year, she said it was a priority to bring some of the top local talent to St. John’s.
Barnes Arico is living up to her promise as Angie Clark, one of the top recruits in the area, signed to play at St. John’s.
The 6-foot-1 forward averaged 23.3 points and 15.6 rebounds per game and helped lead Copiague to the Class A State Public School Championship.
“Angie is an amazing athlete. She has outstanding hands, can catch any pass,” Barnes Arico said. “Angie has only been playing basketball for a few years, and with each season she is getting better. She will be a tremendous asset to the St. John’s women’s basketball program.”
Barnes Arico also received commitments from local standouts Mercedes Dukes, a 5-foot-9 guard from Monsignor Scanlon, and Danielle Chambers, a 6-foot forward from Bishop Loughlin who is transferring from George Mason University.
Seton Hall 7, St. John’s 1. The Pirates scored five runs in the second inning off Red Storm senior starter Tom Klemm in St. John’s season finale Sunday at Seton Hall. Mike Rozema was 1-for-3 and drove in the lone run for St. John’s (29-27, 12-14 Big East).
St. John’s 3, Seton Hall 0. Rozema drove in Billy Graiser, who tripled in the gap in right-center, to put the Red Storm ahead 1-0, and Asa Grunenwald added a two-run double in the sixth inning in the opening game of a doubleheader Saturday.
Seton Hall 11, St. John’s 1. Red Storm starter Anthony Varvaro gave up five runs in the first two innings in the nightcap.
Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.