The Hofstra men’s soccer team defeated the Delaware Blue Hens Sunday to win their fourth CAA title under head coach Richard Nuttall. The previous three came in the ‘04-’06 seasons, with Hofstra reaching the final in 2010 and 2012.
The Pride dominated the Blue Hens throughout the game, allowing just two shots in the first half of play, ten overall. Patric Pray was able to capture his second consecutive shutout in the tournament.
“I thought we were magnificent,” Nuttall said, “Patty Pray and the back four were magnificent. We did a good job, I’m just very proud of the boys.“
Nuttall praised his defense for a stout performance throughout the CAA tournament. “Just look at the all-tournament team: Marius (Flateboe), Harri (Hawkins), and Patti Pray and that says it all,” Nuttall said.
Both goals for Hofstra came in the first half of play; Nino Alfonso scored his first goal of the season in the 25th minute to get the Pride on the board. Junior defensemen Rory Murphy sent a cross in from the left side as Alfonso came sprinting in to head the ball just past Delaware goalkeeper, Todd Morton.
“Fantastic goal, we’ve been trying to get him to get across defenders on the right wing and it worked out,” Nuttall said. “You know, he’s going to make a few mistakes now and again but he always makes up for it with his energy and enthusiasm, so I’m very pleased with him too.”
The second goal of the game came with two seconds left in the half from the CAA Player of the Year, junior midfielder Joseph Holland, who also scored in the semi-finals against James Madison. Officials put two seconds back on the clock at the end of the first half, allowing an opportunity for Holland to take a free kick just outside the box on the left side of the field.
He was able curve the ball into the far side of the net, past Morton for an incredible goal to end the half.
“He can upset you sometimes with overcomplicating it but then he’ll smash one in with two seconds to go like that,” Nuttall said. “It was a wonderful goal, just a tremendous piece of skill.” Holland was also named CAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player.
The win by Hofstra gives them an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament, just their fifth all-time, and fourth under Richard Nuttall.
“I haven’t really thought about it yet. But I’m excited for the program. I think the boys deserve it, and we’re quite talented.”