The Hofstra Pride women’s soccer team is off to an inconsistent start in CAA play.
The Pride is currently in a four-game slump despite a strong start to the regular season.
Coming back from a 1-0 loss to the College of Charleston and a 4-1 loss to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Hofstra now stands at 6-6-1 overall and 0-4 in CAA play.
“For the first six games, we were exactly where we needed to be,” said Hofstra head coach Simon Riddiough reflecting on the non-tournament matchups.
“Then the loss to Army kind of shook us a little bit … took a little bit of our momentum.”
Before the loss to West Point, the Pride was playing consistently well.
“We played hard, [played] organized,” Riddiough said.
Hofstra stood 4-1-1 overall after facing opponents like Boston University and Columbia University.
The unanticipated loss to Army marked a hitch in the Pride’s playing.
“We’re trying to grab that [momentum] back, and we’ve been very inconsistent since then,” Riddiough said.
The Pride’s defensive players have proven to be a strong asset to the team, especially in goal.
Redshirt sophomore Ashley Wilson shares the box with senior Friederike Mehring, and both goalkeepers have been performing well.
“Both of them up to so far have had a tremendous season,” Riddiough said. Wilson has compiled 28 saves while Mehring has racked up 41.
“They’re both one of our strengths to be honest,” Riddiough said.
Another defensive player that has shown promise for the Pride is junior Kelly Gerdes.
After two seasons benched due to injury, Gerdes played up to expectations her first season on the pitch.
“She’s a fantastic player … who was going to lead our defensive line,” Riddiough said.
“She’s still only a freshman in NCAA eligibility reasons, however she’s playing like a junior: maturity, disciplined and organized.”
Gerdes has started every game this season, logging 1,193 minutes of action total for her first season on the field.
Riddiough sees promise in other players, like junior Noriana Radwan.
Radwan is already outperforming herself from last season with three goals under her belt and starting 12 of 13 games this season for the Pride.
Her performance came as a pleasant surprise to the coaching staff.
“We didn’t expect much from Noriana after last year,” Riddiough said.
“We expected big things which she never really fulfilled, but this year she’s starting to fulfill it.”
Still, the head coach is craving consistency.
“We just hope she can get back to where she was two or three games ago where she’s consistently an offensive threat. And we believe she will.”
The freshmen class also shows promise for the Pride, but again, irregularity still poses issues in play.
“There’s a consistency issue. Sometimes they play great, other times good, and other times very average,” Riddiough said.
First-year player Maya Watkins has seen the pitch for 12 out of 13 games and started two.
She scored the Pride’s only goal against Army back on Sept. 10 and is not lacking in skill.
“There’s no question about ability and talent … she’s going to continue, but we need more from her,” Riddiough said.
One point of consistency for the Pride is senior Jill Mulholland.
“She’s a special player … she’s guiding and leading this team,” Riddiough said.
Mulholland leads the team in both goals and assists with eight and five, respectively.
Behind her on the stat sheet is junior Kristin Desmond, with four goals and two assists.
The two beef up the Pride’s offense and have shown consistency all season long.
Looking forward, Hofstra still has two remaining CAA games on the road before returning for a stretch of home games.
“Starting four away games in our conference is always going to be difficult … I’m sure we’ll be ready to come home after this weekend and have a little bit of a home-standing, some comfort … playing on our regular field,” Riddiough said.
As far as their opponents, Riddiough is anticipating that the Pride will come out with some wins soon.
“This year the CAA is extremely equal … so that gives you some hope,” he said.
Riddiough is looking to snap out of the slump and get some wins on the board for the Pride this coming weekend.
“It’s going to take hard work and some consistency from everybody.”
The Pride will look to break into the conference win column this Friday, when Hofstra comes back to Long Island to play host to the Phoenix of Elon Unversity.
Still searching for that elusive first victory in CAA action this season, the Pride will look to put in a top-notch effort against the Phoenix, who currently sit at 2-1-0 in the CAA, with an overall record of 7-5-1.
Friday night’s matchup will be the Pride’s first game back at Hofstra Soccer Stadium since a victory over Fairleigh-Dickinson Univerity way back on Sept. 14.
The return to Hempstead will undoubtedly provide a much-needed boost to this Hofstra team as it prepares for the rest of the conference schedule.