By Michael Otero
The men’s lacrosse team is coming off a very successful 2015 campaign where it finished the season 14-3. The Pioneers season culminated with a painful loss to Le Moyne College in the NCAA Division II National Quarter finals.
John Jez will be the man trying to lead the Pioneers to the promise land, a place they want to be again. So how can this year’s team be like those great Pioneer teams that won National Championships in 2009 and 2010 respectively? Jez believes the key is knowing what it takes in order to win. “They [our players] know the dedication and commitment needed to accomplish our goal,” Jez said. “We have a strong and committed group that is focused with strong team leaders to guide them.”
Jez is not the only one with high hopes and aspirations for his team though. The United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association/ Nike Preseason Top-20 Poll ranked the Pioneers third in the nation for Division II. “It’s good to see we are pre-season ranked so high,” Jez said. “But we have a lot of work to do to stay there and reach our goals.”
It is clear that Jez speaks a lot about goals. Of course, he likes when his team is scoring them, but he also sets them for his team at the beginning of the season. First and foremost, the Pioneers hope to maintain the rich tradition of winning lacrosse at Post. “Our team goals are to be competitive in all our games. Our main focus is to take each game as it comes,” Jez said. The hope is that by doing this, the Pioneers can compete for the conference title, and hopefully get an invitation to the NCAA tournament.
In order to get better this season, take that next step and perhaps win a national championship, Jez believes that there are some areas that need improvement. “We have a new group of guys on defense that will have to come together quickly,” Jez said. A number of key starters like Daniel Jeannotte and Chris Caiazza have graduated and finding replacements has “been difficult.”
Jez may have a strong reputation for breeding winning teams on the eld, but he also has a passion for getting his students to thrive off the field. “Over 30 team members had a 3.0 [GPA] or higher during the fall 2015 semester. We hope to continue our strong working in the classroom,” he said.
The men’s lacrosse team gets its season underway on Saturday, Feb. 20, on the road facing Merrimack College. Game-time is set for noon.