By Marco Meglio and Anders Jorstad - Special to the Chronicle and Staff writer
The efforts of the Hofstra’s women’s soccer team were not enough to come away with a victory against a fierce Yale team. In the first half, defensive lapses and miscommunication seemed to be the issue.
Just when it felt like all momentum was swinging Hofstra’s way, Yale’s Geneva Decker stole a pass from a Hofstra defensemen, leaving her with a breakaway opportunity with Hofstra keeper Friederike Mehring standing in her way. With one quick move, she beat Mehring and gave the Yale Bulldogs an early lead.
Hofstra gained an extra step and rebounded quickly from the early mishap. In the 28th minute, quality passes and good ball movement allowed Hofstra senior Sam Scolarici to get a shot right outside the box. With minimal room for mistake, she buried a beamer into the back left post of the goal. Scolarici is no stranger to goals or points. With her goal, she now has 90 points, passing Hofstra alum Suzanne Newell for most all-time points in Hofstra’s women’s soccer.
Just as everything seemed to be going right for Hofstra, another defensive mistake cost them. With less than 10 minutes left in the half, Yale forward Sarah McCauley sent a shot across through the box and past the keeper. And substitute Paula Hagobian tapped in the would-be goal. Hofstra once again shot themselves in the foot.
During the second half and in fact for most of the game, Hofstra dominated the shots on goal and the time of possession. Yale goalie Elise Wilcox led an impressive performance for the Bulldogs, saving 12 shots while only giving up 1 goal in the first half.
Hofstra’s last and biggest opportunity to tie the score up came in the final minutes of the game. The ball bounced around multiple times inside the Yale box only for the referee to stop play after a Yale defenseman appeared to commit a handball penalty. The penalty kick was taken by none other than Sam Scolarici. Yale’s keeper correctly guessed Scolarici’s shot direction and stopped the potential, game-tying goal.
The penalty kick was Hofstra’s final attempt as they were unable to pull off the win. After the game, when asked about the defensive lapses Hofstra coach Riddiough claimed, “We have to be accountable for our mistakes… if you gift the other team two goals, it’s going to a be tough battle to come back from”
The women’s soccer team endured a tough match on Friday against Yale, ultimately losing 2-1. Throughout the course of the match, the Pride appeared to have the edge but simply weren’t able to capitalize on the opportunities given to them.
Early in the first half, a costly Hofstra turnover led to Decker’s goal. In the following minutes Hofstra took shot after shot at opposing keeper Elise Wilcox, but to no avail. In total, Hofstra attempted 23 shots, out of which, 13 of them were on goal. A monster effort by Wilcox kept the game from getting out of control as she compiled 12 saves in the game.
“We had some really quality opportunities,” said Hofstra head coach Simon Riddiough. “And on another given day we’d have put them away but we didn’t. That’s the game of soccer.”
Hofstra was indeed able to keep the ball on offense for the majority of the match and had numerous chances to take control of the game. Six of those chances came on corner kicks.
The single goal Hofstra capitalized on was scored by Sam Scolarici, who fended off three or four Yale defenders and placed a perfect shot in the top left corner of the net for her ninth goal of the season. With her goal, she became Hofstra’s all-time career leader in points, a terrific accomplishment for the star forward. In total Scolarici took 10 shots, 6 of which were shots on goal.
In the final five minutes, Hofstra was given multiple opportunities to tie the game, including a penalty kick due to a Yale handball. Some argued that they should have had even more chances. “I think we should have had three penalty shots today,” said coach Riddiough. “And I thought Emily Hulbert got pulled down. I thought there was another handball, and I think the referee eventually couldn’t deny the third [penalty kick].”
Hofstra’s frustrating loss to Yale was quickly avenged, as the Pride traveled to Monmouth University and trounced the Hawks 4-1.
Lulu Echeverry connected with Leah Galton in the 38th minute for Hofstra’s first goal of the game and Galton’s sixth of the year, and the Pride went into the half up 1-0.
“Lulu coming off the bench, of course, gives us a lot of passion and energy. We’re very happy with where we’re at right now,” head coach Simon Riddiough said.
Monmouth quickly responded, scoring 10 minutes into the second half and tying the game, but freshman defender Kristin Desmond scored two straight goals to pull the Pride ahead for good. Sam Scolarici scored a second-goal, as the senior forward’s unbelievable offensive season continued with her 10th goal of the season.
“I’m excited, I think the girls are excited, I think we got a good time. I think we’re going to cause some problems for everybody,” Riddiough said.
CAA play begins for Riddiough and the Pride on Friday, as Hofstra travels to Elon University. The Pride will also play the College of William & Mary on Sunday.
The CAA has always been a formidable conference for women’s soccer, and the Pride will attempt to validate their preseason No. 1 conference ranking.
“Elon had a tremendous year last year, and they’ve lost their best player this year, and that’s a huge factor in their offense… they’re a good team, they’re used to winning,” Riddiough said. “It’s going to be a battle.”