Golden Lions Transform Into Bears

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One of Long Island’s private institutions closed following the 2016 graduating class this past June leaving almost 2,500 undergraduates without a school to call home. Dowling College which originated as an extension of Adelphi University back in 1955 and later claimed the William K. Vanderbilt estate in Oakdale its own in 1968, finally closed their doors as their accreditation was terminated by the Middle States Commission of Higher Education. Their annual enrollment had been declining drastically since the mid 2000’s, increasing the school’s $50 million dollar debt. Thankfully for almost 50 student athletes and coaches, the NYIT athletic program and academic administration worked relentlessly over the summer and welcomed the Golden Lions with open arms. Accepting as many transfer credits as possible to make the transition seamless, as well as accepting as many compatible majors.

To attest the student-athletes struggles and unfortunate predicament at Dowling College, the Athletic Department under direction of Duane Bailey, 2016 recipient of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division II Administrator of the Year Award, alongside Gail Wasmus, Dr. Patrick Love and many others, put together a nice welcoming ceremony for them. On September 13th in Salten Hall, each coach and a few players from their respective programs attended the event, as well as NYIT Athletic faculty and staff, to show support for the newest Bears. Aside from adding an excellent group of talented and highly respected athletes, NYIT for the first time in school history will have a Women’s Lacrosse team, which will be the college’s 13th Intercollegiate sport that will compete in the ECC under former Dowling Head Coach, Kerri Handras.

“We are very pleased to welcome Coach Handras and her family to NYIT,” Bailey said. “Coach Handras has a tremendous history of building successful lacrosse programs and has earned the reputation among her peers in the lacrosse community as a motivator, a recruiter, and a mentor of student-athletes. We are excited that she has embraced the challenge and opportunity of leading our women’s lacrosse program which competes in one of the toughest regions in the country.”

Coach Handras led the charge for both Women’s Lacrosse and Women’s Soccer at Dowling with quite the resume after 11 years, earning two ECC Championships for each sport and was named ECC Coach of the Year 3 times. She also guided 8 young women to become Coaches Association All-Americans, 23 All-Region players, and 59 All-ECC selections.

“I want to thank Director of Athletics Duane Bailey and his staff for giving me the opportunity to start the women’s lacrosse program at NYIT,” commented Handras. “I am ready for the challenge and confident that the team has the potential to be both nationally and regionally competitive.”

Two of the newest Golden Lions turned Bears, sophomore goalkeeper (Soccer) Jessie Sabal, and junior attackman (Lacrosse) Vincenza DeCrescenzo both said that they felt extremely stressed when being forced to transfer all of their credits and go through the grueling process of applying to another college. However, they both felt that NYIT was an easy choice.

“Before going to Dowling out of Nassau Community College, NYIT was one of my top choices, I had heard a lot of great things about the athletic programs here which is why it wasn’t that hard” said DeCrescenzo. She also mentioned that the facilities and fields here are definitely an upgrade.

Jessie Sabal said she found out she would not be returning to Dowling while on vacation in the early part of her summer. “Shocked and really sad that I had to leave all of my friends, but not overall disappointed because there are advantages here such as the classrooms and campus. Sabal noted that she was really happy with her new home and appreciated all the help adjusting and feeling welcomed.

The newest members of the NYIT athletic programs have not hesitated to have a positive impact on their teams. For Women’s soccer, seniors Kim Spiciarch, Taylor Davide, Christina Cottone and juniors Felicia Mulholland and Kristin Muir have combined for 9 out of the team’s 17 Goals Scored as well as 5 Assists to start the season. Jessie Sabal, sophomore goalkeeper, earned the starting spot as the Bears last line of defense and has been nothing short of spectacular. In her first four starts, she has allowed only 4 Goals Against with a .692 Save %.

The Women’s Volleyball team was delighted to add Sophomore transfer Tiffany Verni, who in 13 matches is comparable to Karolina Moderova, who already earned ECC Player of the Week twice this season added to the NYIT Honor Roll.

New York Institute of Technology is humbled to have so many dedicated student-athletes from Dowling College that will help bolster the athletic program as a whole and excel in the classroom. For more info on the Bears, follow @nyitbears on facebook, twitter and instagram.

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