Matt Lombardi Commits to Worcester State University
Three-year Worcester Railers Junior Hockey Club forward Matt Lombardi has announced his decision to further his academic and hockey career at Worcester State University. Worcester State is an NCAA Division III program that competes within the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC).
Lombardi garnered interest from several schools, but felt Worcester State was the perfect fit.
“One thing that drew me to Worcester State was that it’s close to where I live so I am familiar with the area,” he explained. “Also I love the campus. Everything is very new and up to date.”
He had been contacted by Worcester State Head Coach Bob Deraney in November, when he was offered a spot on the team.
“Coach Deraney called me and told me about the program and how things work at Worcester State, and then he offered me a spot,” Lombardi recalls. “But it was a hard decision to commit that early because I hadn’t seen a lot of other schools yet. I set up a tour with Worcester and as soon as I got on campus I loved it and knew it was the school for me.”
Lombardi leaned heavily on Railers Head Coach Sean Bertoni throughout the process.
“He really helped me with reaching out to coaches and setting up visits,” he said.
“I definitely couldn’t have done it without him and his hard work. He had told me to weigh out the pros and cons of different schools and when I did, I didn’t really find any cons about Worcester State from the hockey program to the academics at the school.”
Bertoni is not only thrilled for Lombardi to continue his hockey career, but that he can be there to watch him grow.
“It is great to see a local kid that started in our EHLP program, work his way to the EHL, and now attend Worcester State University,” said the Railers head coach. “I am also excited I have the opportunity to see Matt develop next year. He’s moving to the Blue Rink [at the Worcester Ice Center] so not too far.”
Lombardi, who is amongst the top scorers on the Railers this season, with 8 goals and 17 helpers this season, sits at #4 in all time points for the team. The Hudson native joined the program in the 2020-2021 season, where he tallied 26 points in 29 games with the EHL Premier team. Early in the 2021-2022 campaign, he was called up to the EHL, where he made an immediate impact with 25 points in 35 games.
At the tail end of last season, Lombardi suffered a broken clavicle, forcing the Railers to lose a key piece for their playoff run. Bertoni lauds his “hard work in the offseason,” which prepared him for his age out year.
Bertoni labels Lombardi as a “cerebral player with a high skill set and very good instincts.” He also praises his ability to distribute the puck, along with his versatility in both playing “on the wall and down the middle,” but above all, admires his “competitive spirit.”
While playing for Hudson High, Lombardi was scouted by coach Bertoni after a playoff game during his junior year. “A few days after the game my dad got a call from him asking if I wanted to play next year. I decided to start my junior career during my senior year of high school,” he says. “It was one of the best decisions I have made.”
Lombardi is grateful for his time in the EHL, crediting the Railers with giving him “every tool possible to be the player I am on the ice, and the person I have become off the ice as well.”
Bertoni recognizes this growth.
“I think coach Deraney will be very pleased with not only the player Matt has become, but the person he is. He is a team guy and a believer in getting better every day,” he said.
Lombardi began aspiring to play college hockey in his freshman year of high school. After a successful high school and juniors career, he will achieve that dream. He plans to study business, while minoring in computer science.
“I am most excited to play hockey for the school and represent Worcester State, while also receiving a great education and getting a degree in something I love.”