By Sean Williams - Sports Editor
The Hofstra field hockey team is only four games into the 2014 season, yet Kathy De Angelis’ squad is already halfway to meeting last year’s disappointing six-win mark. With a 3-1 start to the year, the young Pride team seems to be getting over last year’s growing pains and developing into a more complete squad.
The early part of the season began ominously for the Pride. The team traveled north on Aug. 29 to square off against the Albany Great Danes, a nationally competitive group that finished with a 16-5 record in 2013.
The home squad raced to a 5-0 lead in the first 25 minutes, and Hofstra goalie, redshirt and freshman Lauren Saltus and the Pride defense were overmatched against Albany’s early attack. Saltus was promptly replaced by another freshman, Carys Swan, who played the last 40 minutes, making three saves and allowing two goals. The final score was 7-0, a drubbing in favor of the Great Danes – certainly not the result the Pride was hoping for to start the year. Albany stymied the Pride offense to seven shots against the Great Dane’s 18.
The Pride bounced back against Colgate, on the road again two days later, cruising to an easy 7-1 victory. Junior Lauren del Valle came off the bench to score four goals in the early going, all four happening within a 10-minute span. The Pride had a 6-1 lead by the halftime mark and played comfortably the rest of the game. Swan made her first collegiate start and picked up the win. Jonel Boileu, senior and the leader of this Pride team, added a goal and two assists.
Hofstra did not play another game until Sept. 5, when they hit the road again to take on the Sacred Heart Pioneers. This contest was closer than the Pride’s two previous matches, as the teams battled for over 70 minutes of a low-scoring game. Mary Altepeter, the Pioneers’ goalie, made eight saves, but it wasn’t enough. The Pride walked away with a 3-2 victory after outshooting Sacred Heart. Claudia Marin Samper, a sophomore, scored two goals and added an assist to pace the Pride.
The team stayed in Connecticut for their match against Yale two days later. Yale is considered a stronger team than Sacred Heart, but the result was the same. The Pride emerged with a narrow one-goal victory, extending the winning streak to three straight. Swan made six stops in goal, and Boileu and junior Charlotte Loehr, scored goals to carry the Pride to a 2-1 win. Swan has allowed a mere four goals in three games, and the defense has supported her with stalwart play.
The Pride will stay at home this Wednesday to face off against Fairfield at 3 p.m.