By John Iadevaia, Staff Writer
CHARLOTTE, NC-- Head coach Seth Tierney left Saturday's game proud of his team's effort despite the final outcome.
For over three quarters, the Hofstra men's lacrosse team went back and forth with no. 8 North Carolina in Charlotte at the ESPNU Warrior Classic. In the end, the Tar Heels left the field victorious 12-9.
"I'm not a fan of the result, but I'm awfully proud of their effort" said Tierney after the game.
It was a game where everything was clicking for the Pride.
Senior goalkeeper Andrew Gvozden was standing on his head, the offense generated quality chances, junior midfielder John Antoniades was 50 percent at the face-off dot and the special teams units played excellent.
It came down to a 9-7 Pride lead early in the fourth quarter.
Unfortunately for Hofstra, the recurring theme of this year's team returned. Hofstra could not hold the lead, as UNC went on a five-goal run to cap off the contest.
North Carolina (9-4) took over in the fourth quarter. They won five of six face-offs, picked up 12 ground balls (37-22 edge in the game), and bombarded the Pride backfield with 13 shots. It did not help that Hofstra (6-6), turned the ball over six times in the final frame.
"We practiced every scenario this week at practice," said Tierney. "We were prepared mentally [but we] just ran out of steam... they wore us down."
Gvozden was Hofstra's best player. He made critical saves throughout the contest, boosting his team's confidence with 14 saves.
North Carolina's best players came to play as Jimmy Bitter and Marcus Holman combined for nine goals and 14 points. They proved difficult for the Pride defenders to contain. However, Hofstra's defensive midfield played a great game going 16-17 on clears while holding the waves of Tar Heel attacking midfielders to only three goals.
On the other side of the field, Hofstra's offense came from the midfield. Junior Adrian Sorichetti showed off his strong shooting from long range with two goals and four points.
Freshman Mike Malave had a career day with three goals. His dodging was impressive, while his bounce shots found the back of the net all day.
Sophomore attackman Lance Yapor took advantage of open space in the Tar Heels defense. The sophomore led all Pride scorers with four goals.
"A lot of our goals were assisted goals... we don't have that too much," said Yapor. "This game really proved that we can throw the ball around."
Grad student midfielder Steve Serling and senior attackman Mike DeNapoli finished with two assists each.
As good as the offense was, the Pride left numerous chances on the table. It did not capitalize on transition opportunities. Serling hit two crossbars in the second half while the second midfield was ineffective all day. From poor shots to unforced turnovers, the unit only managed two shots.
With two CAA games left on the schedule, Hofstra can still make the conference post-season tournament. Saturday's tilt against no. 1 UMass at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA is a must win.
For Andrew Gvozden, building off Saturday's game gives Hofstra an advantage. "The momentum that we have right now... [it's] going to help us out a lot."