With the conference-portion of the 2016 NCAA men’s lacrosse schedule in full swing, it’s time for teams to either put into fourth gear or stall out. The CAA-conference schedule is limited to five games this year, so every team in the CAA is fighting hard for a spot in the conference tournament in such little time. The Hofstra Pride, after opening the CAA-portion of their schedule with a 9-8 loss to the Fairfield Stags, got back on track over the last couple of weeks with wins against the Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens and Drexel Dragons.
Hofstra inept its head and shoulders above the competition by defeating Delaware 13-7 on April 9th at James M. Shuart Stadium. Spreading the wealth on offense worked out well for the Pride that weekend, as six players found themselves with two goals in the game. Also contributing to the success of Hofstra’s offense was taking advantage of man-up opportunities. The Pride went 4 for 7 on extra-man opportunities, with Brendan Kavanagh and Zachary Franco each scoring two goals.
Offense, however, wasn’t the part of the team that was in questions. Defense was a concern for the Pride going into the game with a lack of communication and allowing too many shots on Jack Concannon. The defense improved in that game, limiting the Fightin’ Blue Hens to 25 shots in the game and seven goals.
After hosting Delaware, Hofstra traveled to Philadelphia, PA to take on their rival, the Dragons of Drexel University. This time, it was Korey Hendrickson leading the Pride in scoring with four goals. The Pride still managed to get other players involved in the offense, with Sam Llinares and Josh Byrne each scoring two goals and Brian Von Bargen and Brendan Kavanagh adding a goal to their stat line. Much like the game against Delaware, the Pride also took advantage of their man-up opportunities, going 3-5.
Defense improved again against the Dragons. They stood strong, not allowing a single goal on man-up opportunities and limiting Drexel to four goals for the first time since they hosted the Highlanders of NJIT back in March.
Only two games remain for Hofstra in the 2016 season. Their next opponents will be the UMass Minutemen and Towson Tigers, who are currently nationally-ranked 12th according to NCAA.org. UMass defeated Hofstra last year 9-7 in their first year in the CAA.
As the standings sit right now, Fairfield is undefeated in CAA-play with Towson, Delaware, and Hofstra tied for second at 2-1 while UMass and Drexel are winless. If Hofstra can beat the Minutemen, then they seal their place in the CAA tournament and the game against Towson becomes a battle for the second seed at the very least.