By Shelby Townsend
Head LIU Post women’s lacrosse coach Meghan McNamara and her team hope to combine new talent with the experience of veteran players to attain the ultimate goal of another national title for LIU Post.
The Pioneers have captured the national title four times since the year 2001, including two consecutive years in 2012 and 2013. Last year, the Pioneers ended their season as East Coast Conference Champions with an overall record of 17-4, but a loss to the second ranked Le Moyne Dolphins eliminated them from the National Championship. But, Coach McNamara said the end of last season “left us hungry for more and determined.”
This year’s team welcomes 14 newcomers, who make up 50 percent of the team. Coach McNamara described her team as having “great energy and drive” and being very close knit.
“Our upperclassmen are very supportive of the younger players that keep coming in because they were them once,” McNamara said.
The Pioneers are taking advantage of the uncharacteristically warm January weather as they start their preseason training, which includes practicing six days a week for about six weeks. The first week of the spring semester was used to “get back into the swing of things” as players returned from the holiday break, and many players look to return to the field after recovering from previous injuries.
According to McNamara, gaining confidence and taking it day by day will be key in reaching success this year. She said that communication and encouragement are crucial in developing the confidence her team needs to reach its full potential.
“It’s about them understanding the game and enjoying it,” McNamara said.
The Pioneers will return to the field for a scrimmage match on February 11 against Division 1 program Sacred Heart, and will play their first regular season game at home against Pace University on February 25. Kaitlin Gaghan, who was a three-year member of the Pioneer lacrosse team and graduated in 2016, will return to Bethpage Credit Union Stadium for the first time since graduating as an assistant coach for Pace University. McNamara is excited for Gaghan to return to what used to be her home turf. “It’s amazing to have our alumni coaching collegiately,” she said.
McNamara said the first game is an important one because “it’s the first opportunity to see who we really are, how we compete, and where we stand.” She said the goal for the season is to develop the team, keeping focused on what they can control, and taking it day-by-day and one step at a time.