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Men's soccer wins CAA opener, drops follow up

By Max Sass, Sports Editor

The Hofstra men's soccer team earned its first CAA win Saturday night at the Hofstra Soccer Stadium over Georgia State. The Pride could not ride the momentum to a second straight victory when it lost to Towson on Wednesday night.

Saturday's game against Towson was notched 0-0 until freshman defender Shaun Foster scored his first career goal with just 14:30 left in the game. Freshman Chris Griebsch's free kick went from right to left towards the far post and Foster met the ball with his head on an all – out dive and hit it into the goal.

Foster celebrated by running around the goal and to the sideline right by the Pride bench. He proceeded to dance by swining his arms back in forth in front of him, imitating a dance freshman teammate Jon Watkin does called "The Scooby Doo".

Foster had reason the celebrate as his goal was only the fifth the Pride had scored all season and the first goal the Pride scored at home.

"It's the icing on the cake to score," Foster said after the game.

Foster played well defensively as well, helping the Pride hold a shut out even with captains junior Tom Bekas and senior Erik Rengifo sidelined. Bekas had a sore groin and Rengifo was suspended for the game after racking up five yellow cards. Both would return for the Towson game.

Starting next to Foster in the game against GSU was freshman Tyler Botte, making his first career start. "Tyler played really well and I'm really happy for him," Foster said.

Head coach Richard Nuttall was also pleased with Botte's performance. "I've got to give a lot of credit to Tyler Botte on his first game," he said. "He did a good job and is going to be great for this program."

The Pride outpossessed the Panthers and owned the game in all facets. "I felt good about the game," Nuttall said. "I feel that we dominated from start to finish."

Foster was encouraged by the Pride's first win since September 10. "Big sense of relief now, hopefully it can kick start out season," he said.

The Pride was not able to follow up with a second straight win and dropped its second CAA game of the season. Towson dominated the Pride, much the opposite of what the Pride did to Georgia State.

The first opportunity of the came came to the Pride, but senior Johannes Grahn hit a free kick that was unable to find a teammate in front of the goal and skirted wide right. Grahn would have another opportunity, 16:15 into the game, when he beat two defenders but his shot did not carry enough velocity and was fielded easily on the ground by the Towson goalkeeper.

Less than three minutes later, the Tigers gave the Pride a scare as a free kick curved around the Pride wall, but went just high of the crossbar. Almost eight minutes later another Towson free kick pushed the Pride back against a wall, but Cumpstone was able to punch the kick away and the Pride, after a bit of hesitation were able to clear the ball out of the box.

Towson's best opportunity to score in play occurred 32:10 into the game when an attacker had a clear path to the net on the left side of the field, but a slight hesitation at the top of the box allowed Foster to cut off the attack with a diving kick.

The Tigers did strike and find the net with 8:46 to play in the half when a through ball to the right side caught the Hofstra defense off guard. The ball was played back into the center by Towson and a streaking attacker poked the ball past Hofstra junior goalkeeper Greg Cumpstone.

The best opportunities for the Pride in the second half came from Griebsch. A bullet from the young German from 30 yards out was tipped over the net by the Towson keeper and a missle Griebsch fired off a rebounds went wide left just minutes later.

As Hofstra became more desperate searching for the equalizer, a Cumpstone clear was knocked off a Towson attacker's back and straight into the Pride's goal. Very similar to the goal the Pride conceded to UNCW, it gave Towson a 2-0 lead, which they would hold for the rest of the game.

"Just dissapointed in our overall play and the way we kept the ball," Nuttall said.

The Pride head out on the road next week as it faces Virginia Commonwealth in Richmond before heading up to Boston to take on Northeastern.

Nuttall is optimistic about the road trip. "We're looking forward to it," he said. "We haven't scored a goal in what, four out of five games at home this season and maybe we'll have a bit of luck on the road."

Senior forward Johannes Grahn (10) tries to keep the ball in bounds against GSU (Gaby Chiha/ The Chronicle)

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