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Clawing Its Way To The Top

Adelphi Panthers targeting 8th National title

The Adelphi University Lacrosse team is geared up for another championship run and aiming to claim its 8th NCAA title. After a heartbreaking lost to Le Moyne in last season’s semifinal, expectations for another deep run this year are very high.  

The Panthers are led by seventh year head coach Gordon Purdie, who led the team to a dominant 10-1 conference performance and a 14-3 overall record. The squad got off to a sizzling 6-0 start matching the best start in the program’s history. While the team was ranked seventh at the start of last year’s campaign, Adelphi played hard and continue to climb up the rankings, resulting in its first NE-10 Regular Season title since joining the conference in 2009-10.

In postseason play, the Panthers blitzed St Michael’s 22-6 before they fell to Le Moyne as runner ups in the NE-10 Championship. Eventually, the Panthers would earn the top seed in the North Region at the NCAA tournament. They came out on top against fifth-seeded NYIT by a final of 14-11 before ending its remarkable run by once again falling victim to Le Moyne in the Final Four.

“Losing to Le Moyne in the semifinal was difficult having beaten them at home earlier in the season” said Purdie.  “These memories are burned into the minds of our coaches and players and that gives us motivation to improve every day.”

Recently, Lacrosse Magazine ranked the Panthers no. 1 in the Preseason NCAA Division II Top 10 poll heading into the upcoming season while has it placed fourth in their Top 10.  

With seven players coming back, the offensive spark and team chemistry are still there. Leading the team this season are first team All Americans midfielder Joe Celano and faceoff man Gregory Puskuldjian, All American Honorable Mention and leading goal scorer Salvatore Tuttle and goalkeeper Aidan Bennardo.

The key to winning it all for the Panthers is being consistent and with a tough schedule in NE-10 play, these laxers are going to have to fight tooth and nail. Success has been and continues to be due to team depth. “Although there are 7 starters returning, we have many players fighting for the starting nod” said Purdie.  

The Panther have three goals to obtain this season. “We are hoping to win the regular season championship and then go on and win the NE 10 championship,” said Purdie. “That victory should propel us into the NCAA tournament and there we hope to capture our 8th National title.”