By PJ Potter and Kyle Kandetzki - STAFF WRITER and ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR In a CAA tournament battle, Hofstra’s Leah Galton netted three goals for the third seeded Pride in a 3-0 victory against the Towson Tigers.
“We needed everyone to come together and work as a team, and that is what we did,” said Galton. “And luckily it was me today [who scored].”
Hofstra headed into the game with confidence, hoping to carry it over from their past win against the Tigers on Oct. 5. Head coach Simon Riddiough’s squad came out with that mentality and struck early.
Galton, in the second minute, headed the ball in to give the Pride a quick lead. Lulu Echeverry was credited with the assist off of a cross.
There was an emotional lift for the Pride when Kristin Desmond entered the game for Hofstra, her first time on the pitch since Sept. 26 because of injury.
“[It’s] huge having her back, when she returned the whole team was buzzing,” said Galton. “Plus in this game she played defense and forward, she showed she can play anywhere.”
But the half carried on without any scores on either side, as Hofstra held a 1-0 lead, outshooting Towson 8-2. Riddiough saw holes in the team going into the half, and the team came out ready to fire away after a quick rest.
“Coach told us we needed to put this one away,” said Galton. “He said they look beat, they look tired, so we did just that in the first few minutes.”
And it was Galton who scored two goals in a two-minute span to give her back-to-back hat tricks. In the 48th minute, Sam Scolarici sent the ball into the box and Galton finished the drive, resulting in a 2-0 Hofstra lead.
Only a minute and a half later, Galton scored in bizarre fashion, as Towson goalie, Erin Quinn, stopped Galton’s strike, yet the ball ricocheted off her hand and rolled slowly into the back of the net.
“There’s not much you can say about Leah,” said Riddiough. “She is the best player in the conference.”
Hofstra’s defense played consistently the entire game. Towson’s offense was unable to get anything going in both halves, as they only put up one shot on goal. Coach Riddiough says the defense, “came together and forced Towson to mistakes.”
The Pride finished the match with a total of 21 shots, and eight on goal. Towson was limited to eight shots, with only one on goal. Leah Galton had eight shots herself, while Scolarici put up seven. Hofstra’s goalkeeper, Friederike Mehring, recorded one save and was credited with the shutout, her fifth of the season.
Galton had a career week, scoring six goals in two games. She now has 16 goals on the season, the third best in Hofstra history, while surpassing her teammate Sam Scolarici. The duo has a combined 31 goals this season. Both players are among the top 10 in the nation in scoring.
Hofstra’s next game will be in the semifinals on Nov. 7 in Boston against second seeded James Madison, a team that has defeated the Pride this season, 3-1 at home (Hofstra’s last loss). The Pride are now on a three-game winning streak, and 6-0-1 since facing JMU.
What should fans expect from the team in the final weekend of CAA play? Galton says, “If we keep going, no one can stop us.”