By Joe Pantorno, Sports Editor
The West Coast did not prove too golden for the Hofstra women's lacrosse team who dropped two games over the weekend. First, the Pride dropped an 8-5 decision to Denver on Thursday followed by a 15-11 defeat at the hands of California.
It seemed Hofstra had not even gotten off the plane on Thursday as Denver jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the first half. Denver outshot the Pride 24-10 in the opening half.
"We got down early," said head coach Abby Morgan. "We didn't execute very well on the offensive end."
The second half proved the better 30 minutes for Hofstra as junior midfielder Jill Maier found some offensive success, slotting two goals.
As one of the Pride's top scorer's Maier was held scoreless for three games, Maier has scored in her last two, hopefully a sign of consistency for Morgan and her team.
"Jill definitely has the ability," said Morgan. "When she sets up her dodge the way she should, she scores. She's got to attack it [the net] hard and she has to go fast."
Hofstra managed to dominate play in the second half, also getting goals from sophomore attack Lindsay McKinnon and junior midfielder Emily Von Hollen. Despite outshooting Denver 15-6 and outscoring them 4-1 in the second half, the Hofstra domination was not enough.
"I think it was more of a realization that we could score when we want to," said Morgan. "It's been an issue this season."
Senior midfielder Maryann Miller also added two assists, her playmaking abilities starting to come through for Hofstra.
"Her work ethic is something you can never doubt," said Morgan. "She's starting to work a little smarter and that's helping everybody. She's a huge inspiration for our team and when she does exciting things on the field then the team rallies behind her."
Miller's play making was stifled on Sunday against California as an offensive shootout was the theme to the game.
Once again it was Hofstra's opposition with the better start as Cal scored nine goals in the first half on 18 shots. Senior goalie Jaclyn Pandolf was tested often, making six saves.
Cal started the second half on a 6-1 scoring run putting the game out of intention including a pair of goals from both Amelia Burke and Melissa Humphrey.
As Morgan said, the Hofstra team realized they could score, finishing the game on a 4-0 run.
Sophomore midfielder Alex Mezzanotte led the Pride with three goals while Maier took a big step towards consistency with two more goals.
"[Mezzanotte] had been working hard in practice; she got a start and she wanted to take full advantage of it," said Morgan. "It's good to see her kind of come into her own a little bit more. We just have to make sure we're working with a unit."
Pandolf provided a scare for Hofstra when she left the game with 15:24 remaining. Freshman goalie Kelsey Gregorson filled in and gave up a goal and made one save.
"It'll be a week and a half to get the swelling down and then we're going to wrap [Pandolf] up in something," said Morgan. "She's not going to do anything that's not going to help the team but she probably will be having surgery this summer."
Gregorson will get the start on Thursday as Hofstra hosts no. 14 Ohio State for its final out of conference game of the season.
"We need to come together and whether we get a win or not, I think that it's important for our team to grow," said Morgan. "I think we hit a low this weekend and we've got to come out of it and be better."