OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — When Dowling College closed in 2016, more than 250 athletes were forced to transfer to other programs.
The women’s lacrosse team stayed together, just at a new school.
As CBS2’s Steve Overmyer reported, the new era began complete with a flyover, but when Dowling closed its doors the women’s lacrosse team thought it was all over.
“When I heard Dowling was going under, I could not believe it. We all heard the rumors, but couldn’t imagine it happening. So when it happened we all thought, ‘what are we going to do now? We don’t have a home anymore,” Trisha Serras said.
Coming to the rescue was a school just 30 minutes west on Long Island — NYIT. They fast tracked the creation of a new program, hired Dowling Coach Kerri Handras, and even though players were bombarded with emails from other schools they only wanted to play for one coach.
“She texted us and said ‘who’s coming?’ And I said, ‘it’s me, I’m coming’ no matter what,” Lauren Young said.
“The group chat was going crazy, we were like, ‘oh my god, we’re all going together, no one’s leaving, I don’t care who’s offering you what’ and that’s why we’re all here,” Trisha Serras said.
The NCAA said they don’t officially keep records, but it’s believed this is the first full team to transfer in NCAA history. Their inaugural game at Old Westbury didn’t start well — the team fell behind 3-0 to Merrimack, but they’d been counted out before, and always find a way to survive.
“Resilience, their character through this, changing schools, now this comeback win today. They just dug deep and believe in themselves and each other. It was just a great team win for us today,” Coach Handras said.
The team is not only surviving, they’re excelling. NYIT just won again on Friday, and are now 3-0 with the #15 ranking in Division 2 Women’s Lacrosse.