NCAA Preview: Hofstra Hosts #6 Cornell

Coming off of a four-game win streak, number 14 Hofstra hosts sixth-ranked Cornell Red Storm in their last home game of the regular season on Saturday before hitting the road to finish up Colonial Athletic Association play.

Hofstra (8-3, 3-0 CAA) defeated non-conference opponent Marist College 15-10 this past Tuesday at home in Hempstead.  Senior co-captain Torin Varn broke his five-goal game record from 2013 with a career-high six goals and two assists in the win over Marist.  Hofstra Junior Mike Malave had a hat trick and an assist while senior Drew Coholan and sophomore Korey Hendrickson both added two goals and an assist.  Sophomore Sam Llinares assisted on three goals and posted one goal of his own.  Junior goalkeeper Chris Selva had five saves and freshman Kris Clarke won 19-of-27 face-offs for Hofstra.

Cornell (9-2, 3-1 IVY) is coming off back-to-back losses against Ivy League foe Harvard and upstate neighbor Syracuse.  Both losses had identical scores of 14-9, the least amount of goals the Big Red have scored all season.  With little time to prepare between both games, Cornell had similar games where opponent’s offenses took advantage of possessions leaving the Big Red to play too much defense late in the matchups limiting chances to catch up.

In the game against Syracuse, the Orange outshot Cornell 43-39 and picked up 29 ground balls to Cornell’s 24 ground balls.  The Big Red went 0-5 on the man-up while Syracuse capitalized on 2-3 of its opportunities.

Even though Cornell is on a two-game losing skid, they are a team with a rich history that has won 10 of its last 11 Ivy League titles and has seen four NCAA tournament appearances since 2007.  Without former standout Rob Pannell (Smithtown, NY), leader in points with 354, the Big Red have a lot of players to look out for including senior attacker Dan Lintner (36G, 3A, 15GB), Junior’s Matt Donovan (23G, 14A, 21GB), Connor Buczek (27G, 12A, 10GB) and John Hogan (15G, 17A, 22GB).

Cornell has used freshman goalkeeper Christian Knight (6-2) in eight games.  Knight has a 10.27 GAA and a .541 save percentage with 86 saves.  At the face-off x, Clarke will battle against the Syosset native senior Doug Tesoriero.  Tesoriero has won 142-of-270 face-offs and has picked up 86 ground balls on the year.

The last time Hofstra and Cornell met was in the 2009 first round of the NCAA tournament with Cornell earning an 11-8 victory over the Pride in Ithaca, NY.  Out of the eight meetings between Hofstra and Cornell, the Pride have only one once in a 13-5 victory in Hempstead on March 8, 2003.

Both teams will face-off at James M. Shuart Stadium on Saturday at 1 pm in Hempstead.