By Joe Pantorno, Sports Editor
The Coach: Simon Riddiough is entering his sixth season as head coach after experiencing his most successful year last season with the Pride. After leading Hofstra to a school record 19-3 record, a nation leading 18 straight victories and to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, he was named Colonial Athletic Association Coach of the Year and the Mid-Atlantic Region Coach of the Year by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).
Star Player:Senior striker Laura Greene will look to improve Hofstra's attack despite the loss of Salma Tarik up front. After scoring six goals and recording seven assists, Greene has caught fire early this season, scoring one goal against Columbia and recording a hat trick against Albany. "I told her that I expect 18-22 goals from her this season," said Riddiough. Greene also had a knack for scoring in big situations, wih four of her six goals last season proving be game-winners. It looks to be a simple equation this year for Hofstra's attack: If Laura Greene flies, so does the Pride.
Newcomer:With Greene carrying most of the attacking load, the Pride will need some big contributions from some younger members. Look for freshman Lulu Echeverry who can play both up front or as an attacking midfielder to create chances for Hofstra. The East Meadow native has already received a good amount of playing time as she has worked her way into a side that seems to have a lot of competition for appearances.
"X-Factor":Hofstra has been a side that has broken down its opponents by monopolizing possession, keeping the ball in the midfield and creating scoring chances through that. If that play is to continue this season, Hofstra will need senior midfielder Courtney Breen to continue her stellar holding role. Breen has created a reputation of tenacious play, gaining possession and making brilliant passes that spark offensive chances. These efforts have not gone unnoticed however as Hofstra's number 21 received Second Team All-CAA honors and was named to the Third team NSCAA All-Mid Atlantic Region.
Games to watch out for:The Pride will be travelling down to Lubbock, Texas for the Red Raider Invitational this weekend where they will take on the Big 12's Texas Tech and the Mountain West Conference, soon to be Big East's TCU, two large athletic programs. Wins against these programs could be seen as a national statement that the Pride is a force to be reckoned with.
On September 23, Hofstra will host James Madison, who defeated the Pride last year in the CAA Championship Game and have been voted by many to take the conference crown again. Hofstra can silence the Dukes, avenge its championship loss and show its supremacy with a convincing win.