By Maria Cipriano
On March 31, the Sacred Heart University (SHU) Pioneers men’s football team announced their schedule for the upcoming 2020 season. The season opener will be held on Sept. 5 at Campus Field.
According to Athletic Communications the Pioneers will play 11 games, hosting five at Campus Field.
“Our players love playing at Campus Field in front of large crowds. We have done a great job promoting our games the last six years,” said head coach Nofri.
According to Athletic Communications, SHU averaged a program record of 3,600 fans a game at home last year.
“I think our kids love seeing the support from their friends, family, university students and administration,” said Nofri. “It goes a long way to see the support they have for all our home games.”
Although the football team is not on campus at this time because of COVID-19, Nofri added that his players are working out in their homes preparing for this upcoming season.
“They are meeting with their position coaches and covering football related topics, as well as academics and registration for next fall,” Nofri said.
Athletic Communications said, the Pioneers held a 7-5 record overall and 4-3 in the Northeast Conference (NEC) during their 2019 season. The Pioneers fell short to qualify for the NEC playoffs after losing their last game to Robert Morris with a score of 16-14.
“The biggest thing is building our chemistry and team unity. We have outstanding leaders and will work on our craft in terms of the position student-athletes are playing,” Nofri said.
SHU Athletics reported that Lafayette lost against SHU with a score of 56-40, on Sept. 14 which was the third game of the regular season for SHU football.
“I expect that they will be coming to camp in shape and focusing on our first opponent, Lafayette,” said Nofri. “I look forward to getting back to some type of normal. Football coaches are creatures of habit and we have routines that we use different times of the year.”
Nofri wants the team ready to go when the season starts and does not want the virus to be the reason they couldn’t be ready. In addition, he expects that his players will be tough both mentally and physically for this upcoming season.
“Most importantly, I want them to play for one another and have a bond of togetherness so that they can overcome any adversity they face during the course of a season,” Nofri said.
More from SHU Athletics: the Pioneers have had a successful past seven years, with six winning seasons, winning NEC trophies in 2001, 2013, 2014, and 2018.
“Our goals as a team are always, 1. A winning record, 2. Win the NEC Championship, 3. Automatic bid to playoffs, 4. Win the first-round game in the playoffs,” said Nofri.
Nofri also made it a point that he is looking forward to being together as a team and working towards their goals for the upcoming 2020 season. He is also anxious to see how some of the younger players develop throughout the season as well as what roles they will play.
The Pioneers start their season for the Patriot League on Sept. 5 against Lafayette at Campus Field. Their next game will be against Long Island University on Sept 12 at Bethpage Stadium in Brookville, N.Y. This game will be the start of the Pioneers NEC schedule.