Coming into Hofstra’s game against James Madison, the Pride were in No. 5 and in need of a win in their final home game of the season to stay alive in the playoff race. Adding to the challenge in front of them was the fact that they had not defeated James Madison since 2011. After a tough, gritty battle throughout the game, Cami Larsson put home an excellent shot off a penalty corner to put the Pride up 1-0 with just over two minutes left, saving their season for the moment and putting them in position to grab the fourth and final playoff seed near the end of the season.
“We had just an amazing performance. We had a great game plan, and we had been scouting James Madison for a while,” said head coach Kathy de Angelis. “We’d been practicing all week on what we needed to do, and I can’t say enough about our players and their ability to follow a game plan. And just, the fortitude, the fight, the tenacity and pure perseverance was on display today.”
When the horn sounded to end the game, the Pride stormed the field and mobbed goalie Betty Bosma. Meredith Pfennig even did a cartwheel in the postgame cooldown, and she and her teammates kept high fiving and hugging each other left and right, overtaken with a huge sense of relief and an even bigger sense of joy.
“It was a good goal. I liked it, and it was on a corner, so I couldn’t have done it without the work of the team. So I think it was all teamwork,” Larsson said.
Bosma kept her team alive with multiple phenomenal pad saves with seven and a half minutes left in the first half. Despite JMU having nine first half penalty corners, the score was 0-0 at halftime.
With six minutes left in the game and both teams getting desperate, JMU had a flurry of shots on net – mainly coming off multiple corners – but Bosma again stood tall and saved the game for the Pride. Without her heroics, Larsson’s game winning opportunity would have been deemed irrelevant.
“It was a very nerve-wracking game, but at the same time, the defense was just great today, and coaching was hard,” Bosma said. “There was so much pressure from the other team, but at the same time it was just incredible how we defended and just kept going until literally the last second. And it’s just a great feeling, and it’s my first zero (shutout).”
The Pride now occupy the fourth and final playoff spot in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). If Hofstra wins out, they will get into the playoffs. If they win one of their final two games, and JMU wins two of their final three, the Pride can still sneak into the postseason. With JMU having three games left, and Hofstra having two, JMU must finish ahead of Hofstra in the standings, and the only way they can do that is by winning 2 more games than Hofstra does in this final stretch. If they finish with identical records, Hofstra has the tiebreaker because of their head to head win, and therefore would get into the playoffs.
Hofstra goes on the road to face Drexel on Friday, Oct. 26, before finishing up their season at Delaware two days later.