By Angelo Brussich, Assistant Sports Editor
With an exciting win over the weekend, the Hofstra women's lacrosse team clinched a spot in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) championships. This is Hofstra's seventh appearance in the championships since joining the conference in 2002.
After its thrilling win over Old Dominion (ODU) the Pride would go on to drop its second weekend contest against William and Mary.
"It's great that we're continuing to play, we just need to make sure that we firm up a lot of things going into this tournament." said Hofstra head coach Abby Morgan.
The Pride used the power of two early half-scoring streaks as well as some timely defense to fend off a pesky Monarchs team and come away with a 9-8 victory.
Hofstra jumped on ODU early, starting the game on a 4-0 scoring run. Sophomore attack Jenn Ward scored two of the first four goals and the Pride held a 4-1 advantage near the ten-minute mark of the first half. ODU was able to chip away at the lead as Hofstra went into the half leading 5-3.
The second half started much like the first, with Hofstra attacking early and putting together a 3-0 scoring run to take an 8-3 lead. In the scoring fray Ward delivered her third of the game to complete the hat trick as the Pride seemed to be in the drivers seat of the match.
ODU would not go quietly, rallying in the latter minutes of the contest. The Monarchs would score two goals, 17 seconds apart, to get to within three of the Pride's once comfortable lead.
Junior attack Claire Brady would put Hofstra back up by four with under five minutes to play, but the Monarchs would again make a final push. ODU would ride the back of Lisa Bernardini who assisted on the first goal that sparked the Monarch's rally, then added two more to get ODU within one.
The Pride was forced to play a defensive minded game, and after two ODU missed shots with under a minute to play, sophomore midfielder Liz Anders was able to come up with a crucial caused turnover and secure the win.
In the regular season finale against William and Mary the Pride found it in another late game thriller, but would come up short after forcing overtime with the final score of 8-7.
"A little frustrated with today" said Morgan. "William and Mary was bound to get somebody, they've been close in every CAA game that they've played."
The Pride finished out the season with a 5-11 overall record and a 4-3 record in CAA play, good enough for third place in the conference leading up to the conference championships.
There were no high-scoring runs early in this bout, with both teams combining for four goals through the entire first half. William and Mary held the lead at 3-1 with Brady tallying the lone goal for the Pride at the half.
"Our shots have not been great, Friday and today," said Morgan. "We got a lot of them [shots], but we need to make sure those balls go in the net."
William and Mary was able to jump out to a 6-2 lead on the Pride, but senior midfielder Maryann Miller helped to carry Hofstra back into the game. Miller was able to score two goals 31 seconds apart, cutting William and Mary's lead in half.
"She [Miller] did a great job, and I think that the lesson that we've learned about Maryann is that this is two games now where she's really shown up in that second half when our team needs it," said Morgan. "We need her to be that way all game long and every game, no matter if we need her to be or not, we need her everyday."
Eight minutes would tick away before either team would tally another goal. It was Hofstra who would finally break through with sophomore attack Lindsay McKinnon scoring an unassisted goal. Miller then would record her hat trick and tie the game up at six, sending the game to overtime.
Hofstra's magic seemed to run out come overtime with William and Mary scoring the first two goals of the extra period. McKinnon was able to get the Pride back within one, but its second comeback fell short when a shot from Miller with seconds left was turned away.
"This is a team that has gone through a lot of adversity... so again, it might be a blessing in disguise that they know that they can't be comfortable," said Morgan. "They have to turn it on and they have to play their best because everybody else is going to bring their best too," said Morgan.