Preview of the upcoming Men’s lacrosse season
After two straight years of championships, the pressure is on for C.W. Post men’s lacrosse team. Currently ranked first in the nation by both Lacrosse Magazine and Face-Off Magazine in their annual preseason polls, the team began preparations in January for a repeat victory in the Division II field.
Practicing through cold weather, snow, and anything else Mother Nature has to offer, the Pioneers are hoping to three-peat in 2011. In addition to a second national championship in 2010, the Pioneers also walked away with a program-best 16-1 record, leading the division in winning percentage. “We were very happy with the team last year,” said Coach John Jez. “To win back-to-back national titles was a great accomplishment.” Although senior leadership played a key factor in last year’s success he pointed out, a young group of offensive players also steadily matured last season, improving their play and providing Post with added depth for the upcoming 2011 season.
This season, the Pioneers will have to wait until well after the midway point in their season to face the most serious competition in their schedule; third-ranked Mercyhurst on April 9th. The team will face only one team ranked in the top five nationally in regular season play. Post will have to concentrate much of their effort on maintaining their own level of play against teams that may be no real match for the defending champions. In the meantime, the team is focusing on filling in the gaps left by the departure of several key players in 2010. “We need to play with more energy and at a faster pace,” Jez said. “We have to be more consistent in the goal and possess the ball more.” According to Jez, the team is working hard this preseason and staying focused, leaving him with only positive feelings about 2011. “There is very little room for error in NCAA Division II lacrosse. One bad game and you can be on the outside looking in,” he said. As Division II men’s lacrosse only consists of 34 teams, he pointed out, “you must be perfect.”
Perfection is what the team will be aiming for later this month when they travel to Phoenix, Arizona to face Notre Dame de Namur University, Grand Canyon University, and Mesa State College in their early season trip, beginning February 17th.