By Joe Pantorno, Sports Editor
Junior midfielder Micaela Gallagher recorded a hat trick as the Hofstra University field hockey team took down previously unbeaten Rider, 5-2, on a rainy Sunday afternoon in Hempstead.
"I thought we played fantastic especially in the second half," said head coach Kathy De Angelis.
An early goal from junior forward Krizia Lane was waved off for hitting her leg before going in the net, but Hofstra proved to be the aggressor of the game's first ten minutes.
Hofstra was awarded a penalty stroke with 10:31 gone in the half when Rider senior goalkeeper Rebecca Lotito smothered the ball with her body, but senior midfielder Arielle Williams was not able to capitalize when Lotito made up for her error by making an impressive diving save.
The Pride finally broke through just two minutes later after a weaving run and an impressive pass from Kovar found Gallagher who fired a low shot past Lotito.
"I just ripped it at the cage and at the goalie and it went it," said Gallagher.
Rider began to monopolize possession in the last 15 minutes with Hofstra getting chances through the counter attack as its defense was able to defend the final ball to keep a lot of pressure of Heyde.
Gallagher was in the middle of Hofstra's second goal of the game when her shot was saved nicely by Lotito, but the rebound fell right to Lane who got finally slotted her seventh goal of the season with 6:17 remaining in the first half.
Rider got its goal after a long spell of possession when sophomore forward Sandra Penas cracked a brilliant back handed chip shot into the top right corner of the net with 12.8 seconds remaining to cut Hofstra's deficit in half going into halftime.
"It was just unfortunate in the last few minutes of play that we let down," said De Angelis. "That's something we still need to work on."
A beautiful series of passes opened up a great chance for Kovar with 11 minutes gone in the second, but Lotito was up for the challenge making another diving save, keeping Rider in the game.
On Rider's tenth penalty corner of the game, Heyde seemed to have been beaten but some great last ditch defending by Williams cleared the ball off the line, batting it out of mid-air around the waist area and sending the Hofstra back on attack.
Williams was at it again on Hofstra's seventh penalty corner when she provided the helper to Amy-Lee Levy's deflection goal to put the Pride up 3-1 with 19:05 remaining in the half.
"Arielle had a great game today," said De Angelis. "That versatility is very important to us."
Rider pulled one back five minutes later when senior midfielder Virginia Egusquiza finally took advantage of a penalty corner, its eleventh of the game when her shot hit a player and flew into the top of the net.
Hofstra found a way to double its lead when Lane won a penalty corner and Levey scored her second of the match to the relief of De Angelis with 3:20 remaining.
Gallagher got her third goal when a shot from Kovar fell right to her where she finished into an empty net.
"It's pretty nice," said Gallagher. "It's my first collegiate hat trick but I'm really happy about it and I'm sure my parents are happy about it too."
"It's exciting first of all when anyone gets a hat trick," said De Angelis. "They were great goals, well deserved, she has tremendous scoring ability and it's great that she came to fruition today.
Hofstra's defense failed to break yet again in the Pride's 4-2 win over Columbia on Wednesday evening.
"First it's exciting to beat Columbia, it's been a few years since we have," said head coach Kathy De Angelis. "It's always a huge rival so I'm pretty excited how we came out and finished in the end."
Columbia applied pressure early with some long passes dissecting the Hofstra defense.
The Pride found some offensive success through the counter attack, sending senior forward Genna Kovar and senior midfielder Arielle Williams on long runs to decrease the Columbia pressure.
Senior goalkeeper Amanda Heyde was called into action a few times with some impressive saves, including a sprawling effort off a Columbia penalty corner.
Columbia provided the breakthrough when a beautiful cross from Anna Tichy found Gabby Kozlowski right in front of goal where she finished past Heyde with 14:48 remaining in the first.
Junior forward Krizia Lane answered right back for the Pride six minutes later after a long pass from senior defender Amy-Lee Levey, found the Hofstra's number 12 who befuddled her defenders with some wonderful stick handling and finished her chance with style.
Hofstra broke the deadlock when freshman forward Jonel Boileau cleaned up a chance in the shooting circle and punched it past O'Hara six minutes gone in the second.
Columbia looked to tie the game when Tichy was in front of goal with a chance, but Heyde flew to the rescue, diving to her right and getting a piece of the shot and sending it over the goal.
The Pride finally capitalized on a penalty corner, its eleventh of the game, when a shot from Williams was deflected high up in the air where Rachman batted it down into the back of the net to double Hofstra's lead at 3-1 with 17:50 remaining in the game.
Kovar was issued a yellow card for some aggressive play, bringing Hofstra down a man for ten minutes. Columbia began to build the pressure and pepper the Pride goal, but Heyde continued to impress with some great saves along with the backline trying to limit the chances.
"I couldn't ask the team to come together as they did in that time as we did," said De Angelis. "We really pulled it together especially in our backline to really organize and lead this team and it was difficult to play after the yellow card especially being a man down."
Kovar put things away with 4:48 left after a give and go from Boileau put the senior alone on goal, chipping O'Hara for the 4-1 lead.
Columbia pulled one back with 2:47 remaining in the game when Kozlowski netted her second of the game as Hofstra failed to clear its defensive area.
Hofstra improves to 5-4 on the year while Columbia drops to 1-3.