Two of the newest collegiate field hockey teams in the United States are located only a few miles away from each other in the western half of Long Island.
And although Molloy College and LIU-Brooklyn finish the weekend with a combined record of one win and 14 defeats, each of these teams have begun the process of building team cultures and developing the necessary infrastructure for long-term success.
LIU-Brooklyn, located in the very long shadows of Lower Manhattan, has played all of its games on the road thus far, and won’t play its inaugural home match until Oct. 9th when it takes on Monmouth.
It might be glib to say that the reason why the Blackbirds have not won a game yet is because of their half-season road trip. But it must be noted that the team has not helped its own cause, scoring only three goals thus far.
Still, there is hope for LIU-Brooklyn. League play has not started in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, and five of the seven teams in the table have had equally poor starts to the season. Sacred Heart and Bryant are 0-10, Fairfield is 1-10, and Siena is 1-7. It only takes a top-four finish in MAAC play to compete for the lone Automatic Qualifier slot to the NCAA Division I Tournament.
A few miles east, in Rockville Center, is Molloy College, who plays in NCAA Division II. The Lions are competing in their first season in East Coast Conference play, and have a win to show for it thus far with a 1-0 win over Saint Michael’s College on Sept. 25.
Like LIU-Brooklyn, the Lions have only scored three goals thus far this season. Unlike LIU, however, Molloy does not have a steady home grond. The team has home games scheduled for Bay Park in East Rockaway, Cedar Creek Park in Seaford, and at Pace University’s home field in Pleasantville.
Molloy is a direct beneficiary of the closure of Dowling College earlier this year. Five players on the Molloy roster played for Dowling a year ago. A sixth player, Lauren Keller, is a transfer from Albany.
While Molloy’s roster is entirely from New York, LIU-Brooklyn was able to cast a recruiting net that stretched from Massachusetts to California. The team was able to tap into such prominent scholastic programs as Farmingville Sachem East (N.Y.) and Millersville Penn Manor (Pa.).
In a year of expansion in field hockey at its various levels, these two programs bear watching.