By Max Sass, Sports Editor
Junior attackman Jay Card scored four goals and junior midfielder Tim Holman scored two goals and two assists but the Hofstra Pride men's lacrosse team could not beat no. 3 Maryland in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Pride traveled down to Byrd Stadium in College Park, MD to take on the Terrapins but fell to its ACC opponent by a final of 8-11.
Maryland, who had 10 different players score goals, advances to the quarterfinals and will take on Notre Dame in Princeton, NJ on Saturday, May 22. Maryland's dangerous offense teamed with dominating defense to shut down the Pride. "The Maryland defense did a great job of getting in our hands and pressuring the ball," Card said.
The last two of Card's goals came in the final 1:11 of the game, after Hofstra trailed 11-6. "Our whole attack found it difficult to kind of get in a groove because they were always in our hands and it was just hard to operate and get into our sets," Card added.
Card's fellow attackman, junior Jamie Lincoln, did not get on the score sheet at all. Lincoln, who had 53 points on the season entering the game including 33 goals, was held without a goal for the first time all season. "It was a credit to Maryland," Pride head coach Seth Tierney said after the game about Lincoln. "He tried to get a couple shots off at the end but they were in his mittens all day."
Unlike Lincoln, sophomore goalie Andrew Gvozden had been going through a rocky regular season before starring in the postseason. Gvozden had 13 saves, against 10 goals, in 55 minutes. Postgame Tierney praised Gvozden saying, "He kept us in it."
The Pride played from behind for most of the game and only led once. Maryland defenseman Brian Farrell opened the scoring 3:29 into the game but Card evened the score up just three minutes later. Maryland superstar attackman Grant Catalino, who had 33 goals and 53 points on the season heading into the game, scoring for the Terps to give them a 2-1 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Catalino was held to just one point for the game and Tierney praised freshman defender Cody Solaja for shutting him down post game. Another player Tierney praised was freshman face-off John Antoniades. Antoniades only won seven of 21 face-offs according to the stat sheet but Tierney felt that was a bit misleading.
"We thought our face-off guy [Antoniades] did a great job of getting over the ball, winning the actual faceoff which isn't a stat here," Tierney said. He later added that, "When [the ball] crawled out after a couple of those pretty physical scrums out there, the ball sometimes found its way into a red [Maryland] stick."
Antoniades was also the center of attention in the fourth quarter when he and Maryland junior attackman Ryan Young got into a fight. Young appeared to head butt Antoniades and the Pride freshman answered with a blow to Young's helmet.
"I talked to John [Antoniades] after the incident," Tierney said. "At Hofstra we just don't promote retaliation or anything like that. We have to have the wherewithal to walk away from that. We are a classy program and will continue to do that."
The only lead Hofstra had all game was midway through the third quarter when the Pride led 5-4. Holman's goal was the end of a 3-0 run for the Pride and the last Pride goal before Maryland answered with a 7-1 run of its own.
The 7-1 run put the Terrapins up 11-6 and effectively ended the game. Much of the damage was done in the third quarter though, where Maryland won 12 groundballs to only six by Hofstra and won all six face-offs.
Despite falling in the first round of the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year, Tierney was pleased with his team's effort. The first thing Tierney told the media postgame was, "I am so proud of Hofstra' lacrosse team. They played hard today."
Tierney added that, "I thought out guys came out and played with an edge. They played against a strong team and they did not give up an inch of Byrd Stadium today. They turned it into Shuart Stadium for a long time."
Tierney, who just completed his fourth year as the Pride's head coach, got very emotional at the press conference even tearing up at one point when talking about this senior class. "I just told the guys in the locker room that Hofstra lacrosse is in a better place today then it was four years ago," Tierney said, holding back tears, "and it has nothing to do with me, it has to do with the senior class."
Senior midfielder Tom Interlicchio was emotional as well. "There are emotions that I am feeling right now that I can't even explain," Interlicchio said postgame. "Me and Coach T[ierney] and the rest of the seniors have experience things that I can't even explain."
Despite the emotions that overwhelmed Tierney postgame he realized that there is another season next year. He said that preparation for 2011 would start about 10 minutes after the loss to Maryland. The Pride has juniors Card and Lincoln back headlining what should be a top-10 team in 2011. The three major losses to graduation for the Pride are defender Christian Scuderi, Interlicchio and midfielder Dan Stein.