Pioneers in the Midst of a Banner Season
The top NCAA Division II athletic program in the East is well on its way to making the 2016-17 season one of the most successful in LIU Post history.
The final fall standings for the Learfield Cup – an annual competition honoring institutions with successful broad-based athletic programs – saw LIU Post place first in the East region and third in the overall national standings.
“It was a remarkable job this fall from our student-athletes and their coaches and all the support staff,” said Pioneers athletic director and head football coach Bryan Collins. “It was a very exciting and long fall season. There’s close to 300 schools that are competing in Division II, and to be number three in the country is an outstanding accomplishment, one that reflects the type of commitment that our student-athletes and our coaches make.”
Collins and his team were a driving force behind the Pioneers’ fall success, as LIU Post won the Northeast-10 Championship and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Championship tournament. The Pioneer field hockey team led in overall scoring after finishing as national runner-up for the third time in four seasons, with the LIU Post women’s soccer and East Coast Conference Champion men’s soccer teams also earning high marks for their postseason performances.
This winter, the Pioneers’ athletic highlights have taken place in the pool and on the mat. In its third season of competition since the program was reinstated, the LIU Post wrestling team hosted its second annual Long Island Wrestling Day on January 8. A full day of collegiate and high school competition took place at the Pratt Recreation Center, featuring both LIU Post and Hofstra. The Pioneers went 2-1 on the day, defeating East Stroudsburg University and the College of Mount St. Vincent before falling to Division I foe Duke University.
“We wanted to make it really important for us,” said head coach Joe Patrovich, “and it’s going to get bigger and bigger. That’s really good for our program, and good for our kids.”
The LIU Post women’s swimming team, meanwhile, continues to assert itself as one of the top teams in the region coming off of four consecutive Metropolitan Conference championships. The Pioneers placed second in December at the ECAC Championships, falling only to Division I Wagner and defeating four other D-I teams.
“The people that are here want to uphold the tradition,” said head coach Michael Travers. “It’s the athletes themselves, the underclassmen, who want to compete on the same level as the alumnae who graduated before them.”
As the winter season heads toward its conclusion, the spring promises more excitement on the LIU Post campus. The Pioneer men’s and women’s lacrosse teams both opened the season among the top 10 teams in the nation in the U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association rankings, while the LIU Post softball team is the preseason favorite to win the East Coast Conference.
“Our charge from the department is that the success of the overall department is much more important than the success of one individual team,” Collins said. “Our teams get excited for the other teams. Everybody’s rooting everybody on.”
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