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Sharks Dive Into Rough Waters Beginning Season

Last updated on Apr 12, 2022

By Andrew Scarpaci

Staff Writer

The merger between the Brooklyn Blackbirds and the Post Pioneers has come into effect beginning with the fall season sports. With more than 170 years of athletic history combined between the Brooklyn and Post campuses, the univer-sity announced last fall the merger be-tween the two athletic departments into one Division I program. The fall sports teams have made their first official com-petition appearances as the LIU Sharks.

The women’s soccer team was the first Sharks team to compete as they travelled to California to take on the University of San Diego on August 23 and San Diego State University on August 26. The games ended with 0-3 and 0-1 respective losses. Since returning from the west coast, the team recorded two additional losses against Army West Point and Fairfield University and one win against Seton Hall University.

(Matthew Weinstein)

While the women’s team struggled, the men’s soccer team started their season with greater success. They won their first two games on the road against Old Dominion University and Virginia Commonwealth University with the scores of 2-1 and 1-0 respectively.

Both the men’s football team and the women’s field hockey team are estimated to be underdogs this season. Neither of these two sports were in competition at the Division I level in Brooklyn the previous year. The women’s field hockey team lost their first three games, only scoring one goal in total.

The Post Pioneers’ football team went undefeated in the regular season last year and won the Northeast 10 conference. Entering into the Division I ring could prove to be tough. The Sharks’ first game, which took place on the road against the South Dakota State Jack Rabbits, ended with a 38-3 loss. This was the first time in the history of LIU that the team travelled west of the Mississippi River for a match-up.

When it comes to the players this season, head football coach Bryan Collins knew early on he wanted his transfer recruit from Iowa Western Community College Clay Beathard to be his starting quarterback. Collins expects many players, such as defensive linemen Able Joseph and receiver Derek Eugene to pick up the heavy load left behind from his impactful senior class from last year.

The game did not go as planned for the Sharks. The first quarter was a very strong defensive standing by both teams, and the first score didn’t come until about 11 minutes into the game, when South Dakota quarterback Kanin Nelson rushed two yards into the end zone for the game’s first touchdown. The Sharks continued to fight and were the next to score as kicker Brian Defelice knocked through the 27-yard field goal bringing the score to 7-3 with 9:50 left to go in the half.

The next score was the absolute turning point of the game. With a 4th and 6 coming up, the Sharks punted the ball away to the Jack Rabbits with Jaxon Janke on the receiving end, who returned the punt 77 yards for the Jack Rabbits touchdown, bringing the score to 14-3 with 4:24 left to go in the half. The Jack Rabbits did not look back, as they would score two more rushing touchdowns. They would also score on a 34-yard passing touchdown immediately following an interception thrown by the Sharks’ quarterback Clay Beathard.

With 8:48 left to go in the game, the Jack Rabbits ensured their win with a 22-yard field goal making the score 38-3.

This loss was not expected from an undefeated team in 2018, however, the competition will be much greater this year. The Sharks can take much away from this game and use it as motivation for the rest of the season.

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