Hofstra’s men’s soccer team opened conference play looking to defend last season’s CAA title against James Madison and came away with a triumphant 2–0 win – the Pride’s third shutout in the last four contests.
Junior Meshack Eshun Addy, broke the game open in the 55th minute with his first goal of the season. He corralled a pass from Joseph Holland and showed off his wheels, breaking away from the defense and rifling a shot into the top right corner of the net. Fellow junior Danny Elliott put the game out of reach late after scoring his own breakaway goal with just 31 seconds left on the clock.
Speed was the deciding factor in this contest as the Pride looked quicker and better conditioned from the onset. The Pride defenders seemed to purposely try to tire out James Madison’s forwards, toying with them as they passed the ball back and forth with the attackers chasing. It seemed to work as James Madison looked sluggish as the contest wore on.
Offensively, a theme of not capitalizing on early chances seems to be developing for the Pride. Hofstra thoroughly dominated possession in the first half, outshooting the Dukes 10–1, yet the Pride was unable to capitalize on its many opportunities. Hofstra’s defense has kept them in games, especially lately, as the Pride has only allowed a single goal in the last four games.
Although the Pride dramatically outshot its opponent in the first half, it seemed that Hofstra breathed a sigh of relief after Eshun Addy’s goal as they relaxed and tried to run the clock out. As the team seemed to just be going through the motions, James Madison turned up the physicality, routinely pushing around Hofstra players and outshooting them 11–5 in the second half.
Freshman Luke Brown, garnering his first start of the year, was pushed aggressively to the ground by JMU defender, Callum Hill, midway through the second half and threw his hands up in the air, crying foul play. Hofstra’s home fans definitely took notice of the play as their loud groan from the lack of a foul call was followed by heckling for the remainder of the game.
Senior Harri Hawkins, the defensive leader of the team, seemed to hold Hofstra’s backline together as he routinely out-hustled the James Madison forwards for the ball and limited them to only one shot on goal through the entire game.
Hofstra also continues to shuffle around their goalies; Alex Ashton took over for Leonard Arkhanhelskyi at goal in the second half.
The Pride improved to 3–3–1 on the season and 1–0 in conference play after the victory, while James Madison dropped to 0–6–1 on the season and 0–1 in conference play. Hofstra’s three losses on the season have all been against ranked teams.
Next, Hofstra will play a home game against College of Charleston (2–2–1) on Sept. 24, while James Madison returns home to play Radford University (5–1).