After having one of their best seasons in program history, the Liberty University Flames announced they will be making the jump to Divison 1 as of this season. The Flames went 18-2 last year, with their only two losses coming in close games with Richmond (13-10) and eventual D2 National Champion St. Thomas (10-9) in an MCLA Tournament Semifinal.
MCLA D2 teams making the jump to D1 is no stranger to the league, this has happened several times in the past with teams like Montana (’07 D2 Champs), Davenport (’11 D2 Champs), Richmond, Grand Canyon, and a few others that even made the jump all the way to the NCAA.
Liberty isn’t just dipping their toes in the water this year though, and will play a tough slate of teams in their inaugural D1 season.
“We’re trying to make a name for ourselves in the SELC and the MCLA, so we’re doing quite a bit of traveling this year,” McQuillan said. “Our priority is to win another SELC championship, only at the Division I level, and to do our best in our own back yard.”
With the amount of D1/D2 play recently in the league, and the majority of it being very competitive, there is no doubt that Liberty stands a fighting chance at making an immediate impact in the SELC D1, and just the league in general.
“Those guys have been there since Day 1 and we’ve all worked really hard to get to this point,” Zumpano said. “Even from the beginning, Kyle realized our school was a better fit for Division I. Last year, we were ranked third in the nation at the end of the season (at DII), so we were pretty excited about that. That’s a testament to the hard work we’ve been able to put in. God has blessed us and we’ve tried to honor Him. That’s been the reason for the success we’ve had over the past four years.”
Liberty will open up its D1 run with two home games in February against Wake Forest and New Hampshire.
“The cool part about it is the MCLA does a really good job of fostering a governing body that caters to a high level of competition,” Zumpano said. “They do it for big schools all around the country so we’re excited to be a part of that big group of schools.”
Check out the Liberty Flames Men’s Lacrosse page for the full announcement on the move. Good luck gentlemen!