Weather's Great for C.W. Post, North Teams
Early in the 2010 season, the North region got slammed with snow. There was a two-week period within days of the first game of the season when teams couldn't get outside, and some programs even had their entire spring break trips canceled.
What a difference two years makes.
"We've been blessed with not getting tons and tons of snow, so we've been able to get out and practice and do some things," said John Jez, head coach at C.W. Post.
While the field is level for everyone – at least for those with a synthetic turf field – the mild spring is especially useful for a team like Post. The Pioneers have entered the last two seasons as the No. 1 ranked team and defending national champions, but after graduating a huge class laden with starters, they are inexperienced and on the fringes of the preseason Top 5.
"We're really young and we knew we weren't going to be ranked anywhere near the top," Jez said. "We're lucky to be in the spot we are in the polls with all the people we've lost to graduation."
The unseasonably warm – and dry – weather on the Island and other parts of the Northeast not only allowed the young players to get acclimated to their systems when practices started on Jan. 15, but it also permitted numerous productive captains' practices beforehand. All that should pay big dividends for Post, which is trying to keep pace is the stacked ECC.
When the season opens up, Jez will have senior Eddie Plompen (54g, 18a), one of the premier finishers in Division II, and dangerous senior middie Keith Rodriguez (18, 14), but that's about it for experienced players.
"The whole team is relatively new," said Jez. "We've got six or seven freshmen and transfers and the new group is working hard. They're happy with the tradition at Post and want to keep it up."
Jez singles out junior close defender T.J. McAndrews, who transferred in from Morris CC, and freshman midfielder Connor Drost, who played his prep ball at Shoreham-Wading River. Tim Bradley, a transfer from Nassau CC, is the frontrunner to replace Mike Giordano in the Post cage.
In NCAA Division II – and in the ECC, in particular – the ability to get outside is especially important because there's no room for a slow start. A couple of bad losses out of the gate can end any hopes for an NCAA berth before the second week of March rolls around.
"If we lose one, or we lose the wrong one, the criteria works against us," Jez said.
Post opens up the season on Feb. 18 when they host ECC foe Wheeling Jesuit and entertains an improved Seton Hill team the following weekend in another conference clash. We'll quickly figure out whether the spring-like January had any impact.
Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning, meaning six more weeks of winter. If it's like the type of winter we've had already, Jez and Post will take it.