NYIT men’s lacrosse defeats LIU Post for NCAA tourney slot

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The NYIT men's lacrosse team defeated LIU Post on May 5 to claim its second consecutive East Coast Conference postseason win. (Photo courtesy of Adam Rubin)

The overtime magic continues for the NYIT men’s lacrosse team.

Andrew Zito scored the sudden-death game-winner and NYIT defeated LIU Post, 11-10, at President’s Stadium on May 5 to claim its second straight East Coast Conference postseason title.

The Bears then earned an NCAA Tournament invitation a day later.

Eighth-ranked NYIT has now won 11 straight games since a 2-4 start that included a gauntlet of the nation’s top teams. All of the Bears’ losses have come to teams ranked in the top seven in Division II.

“We knew after the tough start, playing those tough teams, that it would work out for us in the end,” coach Bill Dunn said. “I think our biggest game was when we beat Bentley in overtime. That started everything. And now we’re on an 11-game winning streak, including a conference championship.”

The second straight postseason title resembled the first. Against Mercy in 2017, the Bears needed two goals in the final 5:07 of regulation to force the extra period. Tom Hughes then scored in overtime to give NYIT the first of its consecutive conference postseason titles.

This time, NYIT trailed 8-5 entering the fourth quarter. The Bears (13-4) then rattled off five straight goals — two by Matt Murphy and one apiece from Matt Chanenchuk, LeRoy Halftown and Jason Sullivan — to take a two-goal lead.

Chanenchuk, who had two goals and five assists, was named the ECC Championships MVP.

LIU Post, which won 21 of 24 faceoffs on the afternoon to control possession, tallied two goals in the final 76 seconds of the fourth quarter to force overtime.

But then came Zito’s game-winner precisely three minutes into the extra session and the Bears’ sideline erupted.

“I didn’t believe it at first,” Zito said. “I was like, ‘Did that really just happen?’ I started running to the crowd, and everyone started running around me. It felt great with everyone rushing in.”

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