Hofstra begins seventh straight postseason run
Hofstra men’s soccer is returning to the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Tournament for its seventh consecutive season after clinching the third seed in Saturday’s 2-0 win against the College of Charleston. They will face the sixth seed, which will be decided on Tuesday, Oct. 30, after Northeastern University faces No. 10 UNC-Wilmington.
Hofstra’s defense has been a key to their success this season. While keeper Alex Ashton is currently injured, senior Leo Arkhanhelskyi has stepped into his shoes nicely.
In three games, Arkhanhelskyi has eight saves and has only allowed one goal. He has also recorded two-consecutive shutouts as the Pride head into their final game of the season in a non-conference matchup against Columbia University.
Hofstra’s defensive line has also been a key factor. Led by Sean Nealis, the Pride has only allowed 75 shots on goal out of the 204 shots opponents have taken this season.
Of those 75 shots, Ashton and Arkhanhelskyi have allowed only 15 goals, combining for a .800 save percentage and .84 goals against average. In conference play, Hofstra goalies have allowed only .73 goals per game, while opponents have allowed 1.22 goals per game.
Hofstra has gotten goals from ten players this season. The Pride’s offense is led by sophomore Matthew Vowinkel and junior Luke Brown, who have six and five goals respectively.
Oscar Ramsay and George O’Malley also have two goals each. Not only does the Pride have strength in scoring, but Marcus Lindqvist, Sean Nealis and Storm Strongin have all contributed with assists. Lindqvist has four, while Nealis and Strongin each have three from the Pride’s mid and back line.
As for their opponents, James Madison University currently leads the conference with a 6-2 record (11-4-2 overall), but is coming off a loss to the Elon Phoenix that thwarted a six-game winning streak.
If UNCW wins or ties against Northeastern on Tuesday, oct. 30, the Dukes will lose their No. 1 spot that guarantees them a first round bye into the semifinals.
The Dukes are led by three players. Redshirt sophomore Carson Jeffris has six goals, while Aaron Ward-Baptiste and Manuel Ferriol have five each. Ward-Baptiste and Ferriol also have four assists each.
In goal, TJ Bush holds down JMU’s defense with 44 saves on the year and a .51 goals against average. He owns a .830 save percentage to lead the conference.
In the Pride’s one game against the Dukes, Hofstra fell 2-0. If the teams were to meet again, Hofstra needs to focus on getting more shots on goal. They only had two in that game, compared to JMU’s six.
JMU’s competition for first place lies in nationally ranked UNCW.
The Seahawks are led by Phillip Goodrum and Emil Elveroth, who have 12 and 11 goals, respectively. Elveroth has also been a key player in UNCW’s wins with five game-winning goals this season. He and Goodrum lead the CAA in goals and points, as well.
The power duo has been difficult for any goalie to overcome and a large part of why UNCW stands undefeated in conference play at 5-0-2 (12-3-2 overall).
Seahawks goalkeeper Ryan Cretens has made 50 saves and owns a .806 save percentage.
The Pride tied 0-0 with UNCW to open CAA play this season, in which both teams nearly evened on the pitch. Hofstra had 12 and UNCW has 11, while Ashton made four saves for the Pride and Cretens made six for the Seahawks.
Fourth place Delaware will face William & Mary if the Huskies tie or lose to UNCW. However, if the Huskies win, they will be Delaware’s opponent.
The Fightin’ Blue Hens offense is spearheaded by Timo Hummrich, who has four goals on the season.
Robert Campbell and Fede Prieto each have two goals, as well. Todd Morton has a .603 save percentage in goal for Delaware and a 1.75 goals against average.
The team has one more game to end the season with positive momentum when they face the University of Pennsylvania on Tuesday night in a non-conference game.
While Delaware lost 1-0 to William & Mary, they defeated Northeastern 2-1 to finish their conference play this season.
Ryder Bell and Antonio Bustamante lead William & Mary in goals. Bell has five goals, while Bustamante has four goals.
The Tribe has split time in net between Sam Onyeador and Connor Andrews. The two have combined for a 2.05 goals against average and .629 save percentage.
If the Huskies win, they will secure the fifth seed and move in front of the College of William & Mary in CAA standings. However, if the Huskies tie, they will then be tied with William & Mary in terms of points, but still be No. 6 due to record.
If the Huskies lose, they will remain in a three-way tie with Drexel University and Elon University, but will take the tiebreaker game against Drexel due to both teams having better records in head-to-head play over Elon.
With a Huskies tie, the Pride will face them in the CAA Quarterfinals. With a Huskies loss, they will play the winner of the Drexel and Northeastern tiebreaker.
However, with a Northeastern win, Delaware will instead face the Huskies. Ryan Massoud heads the Huskies offense with five goals and 11 points, while Moustapha Samb, Martin Nygaard and Dan Munch have also contributed with 16 points combined.
Northeastern has played three goalies over the course of its season. Chandler Cree has the most time in net with a .85 goals against average and 27 saves.
His .818 save percentage leads all three Huskies goalkeepers. Noah Abrams also has seven games under his belt this season, posting a .750 save percentage and 21 saves.
Adam Gostomelsky started in goal for the first time against Delaware on Saturday, Oct. 27, and allowed two goals in a 2-1 loss.
Drexel stands as the last team with one last chance to make it into the tournament, but their fate relies on Northeastern. Mathias Ebbesen leads the Drexel Dragons with eight goals and 19 points.
Kwesi Allen has four goals, while Chris Donovan, Griffin Mallas and Laolu Daranijo each have three goals.
Drexel also has strong defense in goal with redshirt freshman Stephen Kopsachilis. Kopsachilis has a .821 save percentage and 69 saves this season. He’s allowed an average of one goal per game in 14 starts.
Who Hofstra will face as a CAA Quarterfinals opponent has yet to decided, but if the Pride can continue their strong defense and offense, they have a shot to make it to the semifinals, and eventually the championship.
Facing teams like JMU and UNCW will be challenging, but Hofstra will be returning to the CAA Tournament pitch with hopes to prove their strengths after falling to William & Mary in the CAA Quarterfinals last year.
The Pride will take on the No. 6 seed on Saturday, Nov. 3 at Hofstra Soccer Stadium as they begin their journey back to a title.
Photo courtesy of Cam Keough