By Abby Strusowski - STAFF WRITER The Georgetown Hoyas beat the Hofstra Pride 3-0 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, ending Hofstra’s 2015 season.
The Pride surrendered a goal within the first five minutes of play, then held tough until the final ten minutes, letting up two goals with just ten men due to a red card on Nino Alfonso. Goalie Patric Pray had a career performance in his last appearance with Hofstra, making seven saves.
“I think we realized we can play at this level,” said head coach Richard Nuttall. “It’s disappointing to be out, but we’re really proud of this season.”
The Pride went out onto the field with high pressure within the first few minutes, and it resulted in a goal by Georgetown’s Arun Basuljevic in the fifth minute, giving the Hoyas a leg up. Hofstra’s Joseph Holland, the CAA Player of the Year, exhibited great strength when up against the Hoyas defense, however it was not enough to produce a goal.
The Pride played defensively for most of the first half, with Pray making critical saves. Georgetown struggled to make a second goal with their shots on goal being high, wide and even hitting the goal post two times.
Hofstra’s golden opportunity to score was in the 35th minute with a shot from Meshack Eshun Addy, but it was saved by Hoyas goalie JT Marcinkowski. The Pride held off the Hoyas from gaining a two-goal lead, going into halftime trailing 1-0.
Hofstra entered the second half with more urgency in their plays. In the 70th minute, a shot from Georgetown’s Keegan Rosenberry’s was saved by Pray, making it Pray’s third crucial save of the game.
“I was very pleased with how we adjusted in the second half,” said Nuttall. “I thought we got back into the game.”
With the Pride still looking for the equalizer, a foul on Georgetown was the game changer. A red card was issued to the Pride’s Nino Alfonso for pushing Georgetown’s Christopher Lema to the ground, after Lema appeared to push Pride reserve Lerthon Theuma as well. At the same time, a yellow card was given to Georgetown’s Basuljevic. Georgetown was now both up a man and a goal.
“It was a moment of madness and then we’re down to ten men,” said Nuttall.
It was only a minute later that Georgetown scored the second goal that they were looking for. Brandon Allen scored on a penalty kick after a foul inside the box, reaching 50 goals in his career.
With only four minutes to go, Hofstra failed to keep possession of the ball. In the final second, Alex Muyl scored a buzzer-beating goal, making the final score 3-0. The game concluded with a bizarre red card issued to Georgetown’s Jon Azzinnari, who was on the bench, for early celebration.
Despite the season-ending loss against Georgetown, the Pride can look back on a great run. The team started the postseason as the number one seed in the CAA conference. The Pride beat Delaware in the CAA Championship to get an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
In the first round, Hofstra beat Lehigh University 2-1 while playing in a downpour. Although Lehigh scored first, the Pride quickly followed up with two goals from Mario Ruiz (his first goal of his Hofstra career) and freshman Daniel Massey who scored on a header in overtime. The win advanced Hofstra to play the Georgetown Hoyas, who are the third best team in the nation.
The Pride now looks ahead to a 2016 season where they retain CAA first-team selections Joseph Holland and Harri Hawkins, but lose their star goalie in Pray, as well as defensive starters in Daniel Grundei and Marius Flateboe, as well as reserve Felix Schaefer.
Coach Nuttall remarked after the game that the team is in good shape for next season despite their losses, with Sean Nealis emerging as a new starting defender, and three options on their roster to take Pray’s spot in 2016.
Hofstra finishes at a mark of 14-8.