College level sports are very intense and aggressive. Last month, the Collegiate Power Ranking from the NCSA reported that Mercyhurst University ranked 87th among Division II schools.
The calculation is determined by averaging the Learfield Sports Director’s Cup ranking, the NCAA student athlete graduation rate of each school and the U.S. News & World Report ranking.
The Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup rating examines the strength of NCAA athletic departments, the U.S News & World Report ratings, and the graduation rates are provided by the NCAA.
Senior defense specialist/libero (DS/L) volleyball player Katie Powell is excited for Mercyhurst to be recognized despite its smaller size.
“I think the ranking is awesome, especially for a school that is so small. Our Division II sports teams all have great coaches and dedicated athletes from all over the U.S. as well as internationally,” Powell said.
Senior setter Kiera Rebert enjoys being a member of the volleyball team and credits the success to her strong teammates, coaches and fans.
“Being a part of the Mercyhurst volleyball team is an exciting team to be a part of right now. We are on an 11-game win-streak and ranked seventh in the WCAA Regional rankings. We also have awesome coaches and fans standing behind us, cheering us on,” Rebert said.
The overall record for the team is 25-8.
Many teams have contributed to the ranking, for example the success of the men’s soccer season, which won their first PSAC Championship, Saturday, Nov. 3.
“We are doing well because of the commitment to success, which runs from our athletic director and the people who support him in the administration down to the players who are sacrificing every day to succeed. In between there you have committed coaches, medical staff, work studies and many other people who are giving time and resource to see us succeed,” said men’s soccer Coach Dale White. “Athletics is a part of Mercyhurst’s DNA. It is important to be successful at everything you commit yourself to in life, although success needs to be clearly defined.”
The team is ranked number 17 and won the championship game 1-0 against Slippery Rock University that was scored by sophomore defenseman Ryan Lund. Senior Alex Manea was then named MVP of the PSAC Championship tournament for his hat-trick scored in the previous game against Millersville to qualify them for the game championship match.
White credits some of the success to the strong senior players on the team.
“We have strong leadership from the seniors, which is helpful. It is hard to pinpoint individuals.There are many players playing well on any given day and any of the players are capable of helping. In the Conference Final we had a defender score the winning goal,” White said.
The current record of the team is 14-5-1.
Men’s water polo has also seen great success this season with a record of 21-6 and will travel to Princeton for the team’s first time at the CWPA Eastern Championship in two weeks.
Senior center James Owen credits the team’s great season to the closeness of him and his teammates and their teamwork as well as their new graduate assistant coach, Preston Lujan.
“We only graduated one person last year so our team has been able to train together for longer which allows us to get used to each other’s playing styles and that helps with anticipation during games. We also brought on two major key players, Garret Schowman and Isaac Ogloblin,” said Owen. “Our new grad Assistant Coach Preston Lujan, has also made a huge impact on the way we train and prepare for games.”
Still Owen finds the one true secret to the team’s success is their drive to win.
“Nobody expects us to go far because we are a D2 underdog playing the best D1 water polo teams on the east coast. It only thrives us to play harder and have the will to win.” Owen said.
Laker football has also had a great season with its sixth game win-streak and its solid record of 8-2 to add to the school wide success.
“Athletics at Mercyhurst has definitely raised its competitive edge since I was a freshman. Football won its first PSAC championship, men’s lacrosse won a national title and soccer won the PSAC championship this year. It’s a great feeling being a part of the era of Mercyhurst athletics that has created a new level of expectations,” said senior offensive lineman Tymothy Takacs. “We want Mercyhurst to be at a level of competition where excellence is more than a goal, but rather an expectation.”
The success of Mercyhurst athletics has reached across many of the D2 teams and if it continues, should lead to an even better ranking next year.