Lancers Achieve Finest Division I Year Yet During 2008-09
Greg Prouty Associate Athletics Director for Media Relations
Longwood University Athletics achieved its finest year yet as an NCAA Division I program during 2008-09. The Lancers' 14 sports teams attained an overall record of 129-133-6 for a winning percentage of .493, their best-ever since beginning Division I scheduling in 2004 (.396).
In just its second year since receiving Division I certification in September 2007, Longwood featured seven programs that finished with a .500 record or above while winning three single-sport conference tournament championships. Of the most significance, men's basketball finished 17-14 for an unprecedented turnaround from that first Division I schedule (1-30).
"Longwood Athletics raised the bar for intercollegiate athletics accomplishments because of their efforts on the field, in the classroom, and within the Farmville community," said Troy Austin, director of athletics. "It is important to note that this success was made possible due to the dedication of the student-athletes, coaches, and athletics staff members."
Under the guidance of sixth-year head coach Mike Gillian (CollegeInsider.com's Independent Coach of the Year), Longwood men's basketball posted its highest win total since 2000-01, including a home record of 13-2, its best since 1993-94 as the program is now 34-17 at home in Willett Hall over the past four seasons. The Lancers' plus eight turnaround campaign this past season tied for 18th-best in Division I as the program played four teams ranked among the top 100 of the final NCAA RPI (Ratings Percentage Index), including West Virginia (22), Florida (57), Virginia Tech (65), and Kentucky (71) - each of the four advancing to post-season tournaments along with James Madison (122). The 17 wins tie for the ninth-best in the 33-year history of the program, while four new school-records were established as well, including team assists (502).
Longwood had home wins over George Washington (80-78), James Madison (79-76), Gardner-Webb (85-84), and Colgate (80-75). The Lancers enjoyed a seven-game winning streak, their longest since 2000-01, and finished the year with 10 wins in their final 14 games. Longwood was 6-3 in games decided by five points or less, and dropped three other games by 10 points or less while playing 16 games away from home. The Lancers ranked among the top five nationally in Division I steals (fourth, 10.0) and turnover margin (fifth, 5.8), while also among the top 50 in assists (17th, 16.2), scoring offense (28th, 77.4), three-point field goal defense (36th, 31.4), and three-point field goals per game (37th, 7.9), while 58th in assist turnover ratio (1.11) as well.
Longwood will return 10 lettermen for 2009-10, as there was only one senior team member this past season. The Lancers will open their 2009-10 campaign on Friday, Nov. 13, in Charlottesville at the University of Virginia in John Paul Jones Arena beginning at 7 p.m..
As mentioned, Longwood claimed three conference tournament titles as women's soccer earned the first championship after 15th-year head coach Todd Dyer, '93, and his program finished 10-7-2, including a 1-0 victory over Utah Valley University in the United Soccer Conference (USC) Tournament Championship at the Athletics Complex last November. The Lancers also enjoyed wins over in-state schools George Mason (1-0), Liberty (2-0), and VMI (1-0). The men's soccer program followed that lead as fourth-year head coach Jon Atkinson and his team finished 8-8-4, including a 1-0 victory over Adelphi University in the Atlantic Soccer Conference Tournament Championship at the Athletics Complex last November. Longwood took wins over in-state opponents Richmond (2-1) and VMI (3-2) as well. The women's lacrosse team added the third conference title when 15th-year head coach Janet Grubbs and her program finished 11-6, including a 19-8 victory over the University of Detroit Mercy in the inaugural National Lacrosse Conference (NLC) Tournament Championship at the Athletics Complex on May 3. The Lancers also defeated in-state foe Richmond (13-11).
Other Longwood sports teams posting .500 records or better included the baseball program that finished 26-22, including wins over in-state opponents James Madison (9-6), Liberty (7-3), Norfolk State (5-0), Old Dominion (8-2), and VMI (11-8) along with giving #1 North Carolina a scare during a hard-fought 5-4, 12-inning road loss to the Tar Heels on May 7. Additionally, men's tennis finished 11-8 with wins over in-state foes George Mason (7-0), James Madison (4-3), Liberty (5-2), and Richmond (4-1 and 4-3), while softball finished 23-23 with wins over in-state schools Liberty (3-0), Norfolk State (7-2, 3-2), Virginia (9-5), and Virginia Tech (5-3). The softball team also put a scare into a nation's number one team as the Lancers dropped a tough 3-1 road decision at Florida in their season finale on May 3.
Elsewhere, the field hockey program finished 10-12 while earning third-place during the Northern Pacific Field Hockey Conference (NorPac) Tournament hosted by Longwood at the Athletics Complex last November. The Lancers claimed their bronze finish with a 3-1 win over the University of the Pacific, and the team also had wins over in-state opponents Radford (2-1, 3-0) and VCU (2-0) as well as a home win over league foe Stanford (2-1). Women's basketball finished 8-21 but earned a big home win over in-state school George Mason (52-42). Women's tennis finished 5-12, and also posted a home win over in-state George Mason (5-2). Additionally, Longwood competed successfully in the sports of men's and women's cross country along with men's and women's golf. Men's golf established a new school-record scoring average of 295.1 while winning three tournaments to go along with two runner-up efforts; enjoying nine top 10 team finishes. Women's golf finished with a team scoring average of 312.04, just off last year's school-record of 311.86, earning two tournament wins among eight top five team efforts overall. Both cross country teams won the VMI Invite to open 2008, and both squads were successful in completing their respective seasons three months later in New York City at the IC4A and ECAC Championships, respectively.
Following such an outstanding year, Longwood Athletics is extremely excited about the prospects for 2009-10.
For all of the latest on the Lancers, please visit our website at www.longwoodlancers.com.
On the Cover
- Lancers Achieve Finest Division 1 Year Yet During 2008-09
- Athletics & Academics: Perfect APR
- 2008-09 Athletics Banquet Award Winners
- Janet Grubbs Retires
- Alums Marcus & Sheffield Lead Longwood Boards
- Longwood Endorses Grow by Degrees Campaign
- LCVA Receives Top Honors in National AAM Competition
- Terry Challenge Doubles the Impact of The Annual Fund
- Longwood University Honored with Three Virginia PRSA Awards
- Jerome Kersey, '84, Inspires Graduates