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Top-seeded Pride falters in CAA semifinals

Cam Keough/The Chronicle

Hofstra men’s soccer was eliminated from the CAA tournament on Friday after suffering a 3-1 loss to the College of William & Mary.

The Pride was heavily favored as the top seed in the tournament, but was upset by a streaking William & Mary squad that had won five in a row.

Throughout the game, Hofstra players were routinely seen shouting at each other and the referees.

The Pride’s attack simply could not string together sustained passing and its frustration rubbed off on the home crowd.

This was a tale of one team playing poorly and another playing great.

William & Mary senior forward Reilly Maw had a dominant performance, ending with two goals and an assist to lead his squad to victory. Maw intercepted an errant pass deep in Hofstra’s defensive zone and sent a pass forward to William & Mary points leader Antonio Bustamante.  Bustamante drove a shot from the top of the 18-foot box into the left side of the goal to put the Tribe up 1-0 in the 13th minute of the contest.

The Tribe doubled its lead in the 63rd minute of play when Maw took a pass from Riley Spain and found himself in a one on one with Hofstra’s goalkeeper Alex Ashton. Maw raced down the left side of the field and booted a shot past Ashton’s outstretched arms. Upon scoring, the entire William & Mary team sprinted to its sideline to rejoice in what seemed to be an early victory dance.

Hofstra would not go away however, as the Pride answered minutes later when CAA Rookie of the Year Luke Brown’s shot barely bounced past the Tribe’s diving keeper.  Andreas Iosifides set up Brown perfectly with a tap pass in the middle of the box amidst many defenders.  The goal snapped a 350 minute shutout streak for William & Mary goalie Phil Breno. The goal seemed to ignite a fire in the Pride as its intensity and urgency increased.  The Pride used its newfound momentum to put up 10 total shots in the second half, but could not capitalize on multiple chances.

William & Mary sealed the game in the 86th minute when Maw sprinted past Hofstra’s backline and found himself all alone for the easy tap in goal.

Hofstra’s frustration throughout the game was obvious on multiple occasions.

Senior captain Joseph Holland tried making things happen by himself, dribbling the ball into traffic and turning it over.

In the 17th minute, Holland took a pass at midfield and put the moves on a defender before being crashed into and stripped by three other William & Mary players.

Holland was also seen looking at his Pride teammates and yelling that they were in the wrong position for a pass.

Holland was not the only one frustrated however, as Iosifides found himself on the verge of a brawl in the 40th minute over confusion as to what team an out of bounds throw-in belonged to.

Tribe forward Bustamante had the ball in his hands and when Iosifides asked for it, Bustamante disregarded him.

Iosifides grabbed Bustamante from behind and proceeded to angrily rip the ball out of his hands before the encounter was broken up by referees.

To its dismay, Hofstra could not overcome some of its missteps, and it was reflected in the final score.

Hofstra dropped to 9-8-1 on the season and William & Mary improved to 12-6-1.

Also, Hofstra failed to receive an at-large for the NCAA tournament, so their season has come to an unexpectedly early end.

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