This Thursday at 9 p.m. in the Purchase Pavillion, the second annual Panther Madness will be held hosted by the Student Athletes Advisory Committee (SAAC). This year’s Madness will include a student-faculty basketball game, free food, and a dance party, along with introductions of all fall and winter athletic teams and the Purchase Cheerleaders.
Although this time around I won’t be taking my place inside the panther suit, I invite you all to make your way down to the gym for some laughs and at the very least, some free food.
For those of the Panther faithful that have been so let down this semester by my utter lack of commitment to posting, I am deeply sorry.
But that’s all you’ll get from me. No excuses necessary, next semester I will try my best to keep up with the rapid pace of Purchase athletics.
That said, check out the video below, credit of Jared Weil, documenting the LiveStrong Triathlon at Purchase in which I played the role of Perseus, the school’s beloved panther mascot.
After the previous season, the last thing the men’s soccer team wanted to do was lose. Especially by a single goal. But at Thursday’s home opener that’s exactly how things played out for Purchase, losing 2-1 against the visiting Brooklyn Bridges.
Last season the Panthers went 6-10, in which nine of their 10 losses were by one goal. The same pattern continued, despite having won their last match against Yeshiva, 2-0.
In Thursday’s match-up the Panthers surged early in the game to a 1-0 lead on a goal by sophomore Nick Esposito assisted by defenseman Ki Walker. Eleven minutes later, the Bridges responded with an unassisted rebound goal by Brooklyn’s Igor Kozlov, and entered half-time knotted at 1-1.
With the start of the second half, Purchase continued heavy pressure on the Brooklyn defense with each opportunity being neutralized. Sebastian Munoz led the Panther’s charge with three shots on goal. But with just over twenty minutes left in regulation, the Purchase defense fouled a Brooklyn attacker just outside the penalty area, leaving Brooklyn with a direct free kick to the right of the goal. Brooklyn’s Mack Diller sent a streaking shot through the wall allowing forward Duane Heaven to set up Muhammad Mutawakki to roll in the go ahead goal.
In a last ditch effort, the Panthers could only keep the pressure on the Brooklyn defense, hoping for a lucky bounce or call. But as time on the scoreboard ticked away, so did the chances for a comeback. The last burst of life for the Panthers came on a throw in by Ki Walker that led to another cross by Nick Esposito where midfielder Sefu Simms was taken down in the penalty box, but no call was issued.
The Panthers are now 1-1 overall and will look to recover Thursday’s loss at the Centenary College Tournament on Saturday and Sunday in Hackettstown, N.J.
So here we are again at the beginning of what every athlete at Purchase hopes to be “the season.” After the mostly rained out and humid summer the soccer players have started to swarm campus and after helping one of the newly hired coaches over the summer, I can safely say that I am thankfully not participating in pre-season conditioning.
With that said, the athletic department had one relatively large change in staff over the summer with the hiring of Ken Pollard as the head coach of the women’s soccer team. Pollard brings a wealth of experience to the pitch after playing at Southern Connecticut State from 1989-94, winning two national titles. After joining the coaching ranks at his Alma Mater, Pollard quickly ascended as the men’s assistant coach and helped clinch back-to-back titles in 1998-99. Following Southern Connecticut State, Pollard served as assistant coaches for Duke University and the Philadelphia Charge of the Women’s United Soccer Association.
With all the experience of Division I and professional programs, Pollard will look to turn around the Panthers after a disappointing campaign last fall.
The proposed turf field would resemble this facility in Melrose, Florida and the facility at neighboring Silver Lake.
Despite the pressure of the dwindling economy, signs of growth are still evident within the athletic department at Purchase. After years of consideration, the athletic department has taken steps to turn the all grass baseball field into a multi-purpose turf facility.
The baseball field, which rests at the bottom of a shallow hill, annually suffers from drainage problems and consequently reduces the number of games that can be played during the season. Despite the initial cost, revenue would be produced by the increase in field rentals that the turf would allow for.
Other additions to the athletic facilities at Purchase will include a warning track on the softball field, which will likely be in place for the start of the 2010 season. Though initial plans have been discussed about the renovation of the gymnasium, which would include the addition of an olympic sized pool and 3,000 seat basketball arena, a lack of finances has resulted in a change of plans. Instead, the revised plan would include the construction of a field house extending from the main entrance of the gymnasium across Brigid Flanagan Avenue and into the Great Lawn. The addition would result in an altering of Brigid Flanagan Avenue to extend into the woods behind the Farside parking lot and behind the gymnasium into its existing parking lot as a sort of showcase for the college’s renovated facilities.
Check out Kiersten Morsanutto’s documentary on this season’s softball team, “The Hunt for the Playoffs.”
Now that everyone has had ample time to settle down from seasons past, here I am at the beginning of the end. For me, it’s the start of a year that I’ve looked forward to since high school and yet now, I’m not all that prepared for it. But like all things, this too shall pass.
As far as athletics at Purchase are concerned, it’s easy for anyone to observe the progress that has been made by a school almost entirely lacking an intercollegiate program to one beginning to establish a perennial force within the Skyline Conference as a member of the NCAA.
This year, unlike many others, Purchase said goodbye to some of the best athletes to bear with the program through the roller coaster ride that has culminated in its’ success. Records were set and then broken, some good and some we’d all rather not claim. Nonetheless for the majority of athletes at Purchase we have formed something for ourselves that we have all sought during our tenure here: an identity of our own.
Congratulations to all the teams, varsity and club, those soon to be part of an ever-growing program of a school we all call home. So in the end, here’s to the summer of 2009 and here’s to Purchase!
See you next season.