By Max Sass, Sports Editor
The Pride men's soccer team fell 2-0 to St. Peter's in a physical battle at the Hofstra Soccer Stadium Monday night. The loss drops the Pride to 1-2 after a heartbreaking overtime loss to cross – Island rival Stony Brook and an exhilarating comeback win at Iona.
With just under 19 minutes gone in the game, the Pride committed a hand ball just outside their own 18 – yard box giving the Peacocks a free kick. St. Peter's capitilized on the opportunity when senior defender Liad Amir drilled the ball off the Pride defensive wall and into the back of the net. The drive hit Hofstra freshman midfielder Floria Popp on his side and deflected into the top corner of the net leaving junior goalkeeper Greg Cumpstone helpless as his team fell behind 1-0.
The Pride had a number of opportunities, including a shot by freshman defender Shaun Foster, that was ruled offsides, to pull even as the first half neared to a close but could not find the equalizer.
The second half looked to be leaning in the Pride's favor as it contorlled much of the ball possession early but the Peacocks caught the Pride too far ahead on offense. A long run by St. Peter's caught the Pride defense and the ball was laid off to senior forward Dmitri Pelts who hit a magnificent shot into the top left corner of the net to give St. Peter's a 2-0 lead.
Head coach Richard Nuttall knew that the counter-attack of the St. Peter's Peacocks caught his team in a bad position. "We have to be careful of the counter because we go searching and it cost us again when we were searching for the equalizer," he said.
The Peacocks would not relinquish their 2-0 lead, despite the fact that the Pride outshot them on the day 15-10.
Nuttall was pleased with the way his team played despite the outcome. "I think they gave everything," he said. "Their effort was outstanding."
Nuttall did later add though that, "We were a bit frantic and rushed at times."
Eighteen different players saw the field for the Pride on the day. "I need to look at people," Nuttall said of his liberal substitutions. "This is our third game in five days and we're a bit jaded."
Much of the reason Nuttal needs to look at so many players is the youth of the roster. "Young freshman and sophomores and getting a lot of playing time and I'm excited to be honest to be a part of this team," he said.
The fact that the team has lost two of three games does not bother Nuttall as much as the fact that they have been shut out does. "I don't think we've given up that many chances," he said. "I'm not worried defensively, I just want to score goals. We have a bit of anxiety."
The Pride looks to even up its record as it heads to the Adidas – Brown Soccer Classic this weekend in Providence, RI. Friday the Pride will face off with Yale University before meeting Brown University on the pitch on Sunday.