By Marco Meglio and Anders Jorstad - STAFF WRITERS The Hofstra field hockey team finally cooled off, and at the wrong time, losing 5-3 to fellow Colonial Athletic Association rival William & Mary, and 2-1 to James Madison to eliminate them from entering the CAA tournament.
The Pride’s losses were their first in the past six games. The CAA tournament field only allows four teams to enter the postseason, and James Madison snatched up that spot with their victory on Sunday at Hofstra Field Hockey Stadium.
At the beginning of the week’s first match, the Pride started off hot, scoring a goal within two minutes of the game. Midfielder Charlotte Loehr gave Hofstra the early 1-0 lead with an absolute blast from the right side of the attacking circle. This goal gave her 10 on the season, as she continues to be one of Hofstra’s main scorers. But from then on out it was a struggle on defense for the Pride.
Hofstra surrendered four goals on eleven shots to the Tribe in just the first half. All the momentum swung William & Mary’s way as the Pride’s ball movement disappeared.
The eleven shots kept the defense on their heels the whole time, while also taking away all offensive flow. Almost every time the Pride entered William & Mary’s attacking circle, they were immediately hounded with constant pursuit. The Pride’s defense gambled at times, leaving them vulnerable to multiple wide-open shots for the Tribe.
The second half was a bit better for the Pride, but it was not enough to come back from the early lead. William & Mary started the second half rolling. Within the first 15 minutes, Tribe forward Maria Pastor connected on her fourth goal of the season, giving William & Mary a 5-1 lead.
The Pride battled back but it was not enough to overcome. Late goals from Simca Schoen and Jonel Boileau cut the deficit to 5-3. When asked about the poor defensive effort head coach Kathy De Angelis said, “We didn’t have a strong defensive structure and they collected on multiple fast breaks.” The defense was clearly not on the same throughout the game.
Unfortunately, another heartbreaking loss would follow for the field hockey team, who fell to JMU by a score of 2-1, officially eliminating them from tournament consideration.
The Pride’s effort to get the one win they needed over the weekend was officially foiled after a weak effort at Hofstra Field hockey Stadium on Sunday. Hofstra needed just one win to propel them into the conference tournament but was unable to capitalize, a lack of good passes, paired with an array of penalties and turnovers allowed the Dukes plenty of opportunities to win the game.
JMU fullback Loes Stijntjes got things going early when she scored on a corner shot at the 8:44 mark of the first period for her 14th score of the season. The Dukes then took a 2-0 lead when Danni Wilson put the ball in the net at the 25:25 mark for her third goal of the year.
Hofstra was overwhelmed by JMU’s defensive pressure in the first period and was only able to get five shots off in the first period.
“I definitely think in the first half we struggled with [getting offensive opportunities]” commented Head Coach Kathy De Angelis. “I think defensively James Madison did a great job to double, sometimes triple-team our striker line.”
The weather conditions were far from ideal on the field for the game. Speaking about the weather, Coach De Angelis said, “You know, it was windy [and] cold but both teams had to play under those conditions. Certainly the communication is always a little harder, to hear each other on the field. I think certainly [in the] second half we were well adjusted to that and I thought the communication was great and I felt our defensive structure was great so that means we were able to communicate under those type of windy conditions.”
The Pride were able to collect themselves and improved their attack in the second period, taking 10 total shots. An important moment in the game occurred early in the second period when Claudia Marin-Samper was able to get past the JMU goalie and nudged the ball towards the Dukes’ goal. The ball slowly rolled and just as it looked like Hofstra was going to get on the board, JMU fullback Dana Allaband made a lunging dive and swept the ball out of play just before the ittrickled in to the goal.
After a few more unsuccessful offensive charges, the Pride pulled their goalie to try for one final push. Hofstra would finally capitalize with just under a minute remaining when Stella Schoen knocked in her sixth of the season. Unfortunately it would be too little too late as the Pride fell to the Dukes, officially ending their season.
It was a great season for the Pride, who have improved immensely over their 6-14 campaign in 2013, finishing 2014 with a 12-7 mark. Although they didn’t quite make it to the conference tournament, there’s little doubt that this season was a success for the team.