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Men’s soccer falls to powerful Drexel

By Daniel Hilton (Special to the Chronicle)

The return to Hempstead for game one of a three game homestead to finish out conference play ended in defeat as the Hofstra Pride men’s soccer team fell 2-1 to Colonial Athletic Association rival Drexel Dragons at the Hofstra Soccer Stadium. Both teams came out of the gate quickly, with the Pride getting the first shot of the game before the first minute had passed. The Pride (10-5-1, 4-4 CAA) played a possession-style game, as they have all season, and Drexel (11-3-2, 7-1-1 CAA) took advantage with the counterattack. Less than two minutes in, the Dragons’ Nathan Page sliced through the defense and beat Hofstra keeper senior Adam Janowski on a rebound to put Drexel up 1-0. The Pride battled back, with good chances from freshman midfielder Joseph Holland and sophomore forward Maid Memic on target, but the blue and gold couldn’t get past Drexel keeper senior Tim Washam, who had a flurry of saves in the last few minutes of the first half, yet the Pride entered the locker room down by one. Janowski, meanwhile, had a career-high seven saves, all coming in the first half. During halftime, head coach Richard Nuttall encouraged his players to stay the course. “I’m happy to the way we played, especially in the second half,” said Nuttall, “because we had the right attitude to buckle down and get on with the game.” Hofstra came out invigorated in the second half, and was rewarded for its efforts with fifteen minutes left on the clock. Junior midfielder Chris Griebsch found space near the penalty box, chipped it over the defense to an oncoming senior defender A.J. Laza, who found the head Memic as he soared toward net for his team-leading eighth goal and tied up the game 1-1. The cheers wouldn’t last long, however. After earning a free kick near midfield, Dragons sophomore defender Robert Liberatore lofted the ball into the box, where it took one large bounce and found the upper 90 on the ride back up. Hofstra didn’t lie down though, hitting the cross bar once and forcing three more saves from Washam in the game’s dying minutes. Coach Nuttall recognized the fight his time showed in the match’s waning moments. “I don’t think they had many good chances apart from the goals that went in,” Nuttall said, “and we’ve had five or six glorious chances.” The Pride is next in action on Saturday against No. 15 Old Dominion at 7 p.m. at Hofstra Soccer Stadium on senior day. Hofstra currently at sixth in the conference, though coach Nuttall thinks the next result will be simple. “We fancy ourselves against ODU but ODU are very good,” Nuttall said, “If we don’t play, they beat us.”

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