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May 25, 2014

J.B. Clarke

Todd Nakasuji

Vinny Ricci

Anthony Starnino


Limestone – 12
LIU Post – 6

J.B. CLARKE:  What an honor to be here.  We talked a lot the last week especially as a program about what being here on Memorial Day weekend really means, and we had some great emails from some of our alums.  We had a remarkable speaker on Friday night in the stadium.  I'd like to thank the NCAA for putting that on.  It was moving beyond words.  We're just very honored and proud to be able to play a game while people are risking their lives to make this possible.
Long Island Post, what an end of a season they had.  They played five games that I'm not sure anybody put together at the end of the year.  I'm happy to say that we had a little bit more than them today, but what an end of season they had.  Those last five games were just remarkable, win their conference, win those two games up at Le Moyne and at Adelphi, it's just amazing.
Our team played really tough today for a long time, and that's what we asked them to do.  It's a very unselfish team, truly a team this year.  It's one of those teams that wasn't ranked very high coming into the season, not a lot of preseason All‑Americans and all that, and I think that the greatest testament to who our team was this year was when our second midfield went out there.  I haven't looked at the stats yet, but our second midfield went out there and had at least two or three goals.  When we're getting that kind of production out of guys that we really didn't count on that much coming into the season, I think it speaks volumes about who this group of young men truly are.
I'd also like to thank my institution.  It's 24 years ago Mike Cerino started this thing, and he's built it twice.  He left and came back and rebuilt it, and I know a couple of the guys sitting next to me are guys that Coach Cerino recruited, and I'm just lucky enough to have four years with these guys, so it's really a blessing for me personally to be sitting here with you.
These three guys, I wanted to bring all three in because they've been such a backbone of what we've done this year.  I'm still in shock.

Q.  It seemed like the game turned in the second quarter, seven goals.  What happened?  What did you see that you were able to take advantage of?
VINNY RICCI:  Well, I really thought it started from our D end, Pat Sheridan.  He shut the door numerous times and he was able to move the ball up the field real quick, and our D‑middies were able to take advantage of that, Chris and Jamar, they moved it up the field, and I was just lucky enough to be there to finish it off. It all started on the D end.
TODD NAKASUJI:  I think in the first quarter we started off well offensively, so it's always great to know that you have a great defense back there making stops that get us the ball, and the second quarter we came alive, this team started to move the ball, move our feet on offense and just found the holes.
ANTHONY STARNINO:  Definitely part of what they said with the defense being a key.  That and putting the ball in the back of the net makes it easy for us to make plays that we did to get the ball back to them.  Watching them from the D end just move the ball well, put the ball in the back of the net, it gives us the relaxation that we need to just play our defense, understand that if we get the ball, we don't get the ball, our offense is going to be there for us to get our back.
We play much better relaxed, and the offense helped us out.  Pat Sheridan, can't say enough about the kid.  Heck of a game today.

Q.  Coach, you talked about the preseason rankings, and you go down, your leading scorers, there's guys who weren't on the team last year or transferred in or doubled their production.  How were you able to complete this offensive reinvention and getting guys to step up in roles?
J.B. CLARKE:  It's a program thing.  You know, in the fall we let everybody play, and we really tried to develop them as players and less as guys who play within set plays, if you will, so it's a lot less of Xs and Os.  We try to teach them all the fundamental stuff that guys like Bobby Knight and guys like that preach.
I think it's really a development thing.  We're very lucky to have guys that come to practice every day and practice really hard.  I don't spend much time‑‑ I think these guys hopefully will agree, I don't spend much time motivating them.  We spend a lot of time just coaching them, and we're really blessed because they bring that to practice every day, and if I'm running around yelling and screaming about go harder and go faster and get over there and don't do this and do that, I don't spend a lot of time, get your hands up and shoot this way or cut there, roll there.  But I really need to give the credit to the players but also my staff.  Brendan Storrier has been with us for four years now.  I've been blessed to have him as my offensive coach.  He's developed so much as a coach.  It's really amazing.  Brought in Carroll Kennedy this year, he played at Adelphi, coached at Adelphi, and his calmness at the defensive end I think has as much to do with our success at that end as anything.  Yeah, there's good players down there, don't get me wrong, I'm not taking away from that, but my staff did I think a remarkable job in spite of me this year, getting these guys to 18 or 19‑1 I think we are.
So it's a development thing.  Guys pop up on the radar.  We do get a couple transfers, we red shirt some guys.  It's a development thing, and that's why in the preseason when you call me or someone else calls me and says, hey, coach, you're ranked eighth or whatever, what do you think.  That's good.  We kind of do it with a smile.  We know who's around.

Q.  For the players, obviously this program has a lot of history, been here on this stage a lot, but they had not won a National Championship since 2002, I think.  Was that something that you all talked about, the drought that had been going on and that they had lost in the finals a few times since then?  How proud are you to get it back?
VINNY RICCI:  Definitely.  I mean, you could hear the fans, they were all behind our bench there, and every year we have alumni weekend, same guys come in, and they preach how special it is to win a National Championship and what it means for the program of Limestone.
So that's in the back of our minds.  I think we went on a 12‑year drought since the last championship, and it's definitely something we were thinking about, and we're happy we can win it and bring it back to Limestone for all these players.
TODD NAKASUJI:  Especially for me and Anthony, I know we were here in 2012 on the team, went up to Boston, ended up losing by a goal to a team we had beat a week or two ago by about seven goals.  We kind of had a bitter feeling, bitter taste in our mouths, and just knew this time as seniors we were going to do whatever it took.  We came up here, business trip, we were going to do whatever it took to win the championship this time, and we got it done.
ANTHONY STARNINO:  In one or two words, be different.  We wanted to be different.  This program is a young program.  We had a few seniors that had been on the team for the four years and went through, like Todd was saying, through that loss in 2012.  We know what it's like.  With the youth that we have and the experience that we have, we put a season together.  We ended up being different.  We have a milestone now.  We're 2014 National Championship.  That's all you can say that we wanted to do.  We were different.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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