The Dragons of Drexel University traveled to Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, NY on Saturday, April 4th for a rematch of last year’s CAA men’s lacrosse championship against the Pride of Hofstra University. This game was back and forth and would take a last minute goal to give the Pride an 8-7 loss at the hands of their conference rivals. They would never gain the lead.
Prior to the matchup against Drexel, Hofstra claimed their first conference against the Fightin’ Blue Hens of the University of Delaware. Leading the Pride in scoring for that game was senior midfielder Mike Malave with four goals. Junior attacker Sam Llinares contributed two goals in that game as well on their way to a 9-5 victory. Both Llinares and Malave would make some noise for Hofstra against Drexel.
The first quarter was a defensive game as it would be a little over five minutes left before either team would gain the early lead. Freshmen midfielder Michael Kay scored his fifth goal of the season to give the Dragons a 1-0 lead. Hofstra hasn’t been able to beat an opponent who had the lead at the end of the first quarter.
Freshmen attacker Brendan Kavanagh opened the second quarter with his fourth goal on the 2015 campaign for Hofstra to knot the game at 1. From that goal, Drexel and Hofstra traded goals as the Pride responded to any goal that the Dragons scored. Llinares scored his team-leading twenty-seventh goal on the year and Malave contributed his first of two goals in this game in the second quarter. Cole Shafer scored the last goal of the first half, his nineteenth in 2015, to give the Dragons a 4-3 lead.
Like the first quarter, the third quarter was all about defense. Neither team scored a goal throughout the quarter. At the start the fourth quarter, the Pride defense struggled as the Dragon offense exploded for two straight goals to give the the Dragons a 6-3 lead. Brian von Bargen scored his third goal of 2015 to trim the lead to two goals, but Mason Pynn responded with his ninth goal to put the Dragons back up by three.
Under four minutes to play in game, the Pride began to play with a sense of urgency. Zachary Franco, who had a big first start against Delaware, scored the first goal of three straight by Hofstra. Korey Hendrickson and Malave scored the next two goals to tie the game at seven. Malave’s goal came with just over thirty seconds to go in the game, so it looked like this game would be a repeat of last year’s CAA championship that went into overtime. However, senior midfielder Ryan Belka didn’t want that to happen, so with ten seconds to go, Belka scored his twenty-third goal to win the game for the Dragons 8-7.
With this loss, Hofstra drops to 4-6 overall and 1-2 in CAA-play. The rest of the season isn’t getting any easier as the Pride will travel to Ithaca, NY to take on the Big Red of Cornell University, who are ranked third in the nation, for their next game, then will play the Tiger of Towson, who are ranked eighteenth, in Maryland and finish the season in Conneticut against the Stags of Fairfield University, who are ranked twenty-fifth.