NYIT men


Bears Nab ECC Championship, Roar Into Playoffs

May 7, 2018

The overtime magic continues!

NYIT freshman Andrew Zito scored the sudden-death game-winner as the NYIT men’s lacrosse team defeated LIU Post, 11-10, at President’s Stadium on May 5 to claim its second straight East Coast Conference (ECC) postseason title.

In addition, the NYIT men’s lacrosse team had its NCAA Tournament ticket punched Sunday. The Division II selection committee awarded the Bears the No. 4 seed in the North Region.

NYIT will face top-seeded Merrimack on May 12 at 1 p.m. in North Andover, Mass. A year ago, a day after the euphoria of Tom Hughes’ overtime goal topping Mercy in the final, the Bears were deprived of an NCAA Tournament invite.

The eighth-ranked Bears have 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,” said Head Coach William Dunn. “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 and set up Hughes’ heroics.

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

Chanenchuk, who had two goals and five assists, was named the ECC Championship’s MVP.

LIU Post 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.”