Second-half surge leads Hofstra to comeback victory
The Hofstra women’s lacrosse team turned on the jets and pulled off a second-half comeback for the ages on Sunday afternoon, erasing an early 7-1 deficit with a seven-goal run to cap off a 13-11 win over Drexel University at James M. Shuart Stadium.
“We really showed a lot of heart,” said head coach Shannon Smith. “Drexel came out really impressive in the first half … this shows the heart, the passion and the effort that we have to battle back.”
It was Senior Day at Shuart Stadium, and before the game the Pride’s eight seniors were honored. After a rough first half, it appeared as though the afternoon’s festivities were turning somber in a hurry.
The Dragons took control early in the first half, snuffing out a few early Hofstra possessions and striking first with a goal about eight minutes in.
The visitors would strike again and again throughout the half, opening up a 4-0 lead before Alexa Mattera would get Hofstra on the board just about midway through the half.
“After that [first goal] went in, I knew that we had the Mattera that wasn’t going to be stopped,” Smith said.
The Dragons would lead by as many as six goals in the first half, but Hofstra began to show signs of life in the waning minutes and only trailed 8-4 heading into the locker room.
Adjustments needed to be made, and one switch that Smith made was to put Alyssa Parrella in charge of handling draw controls in place of Mattera.
“Alyssa and I were working really hard on draw controls, and we noticed some little tweaks that we needed to do, and I think it was really successful,” Smith said.
That spark of momentum that had flickered for the Pride at the end of the first half exploded as the second half got underway.
With Parrella and Mattera, two of Hofstra’s most dangerous attackers, leading the way, Hofstra beat Drexel goalie Zoe Bennett for seven unanswered goals in a 12-minute span. In a matter of minutes, a four-goal deficit morphed into a 11-8 Hofstra lead.
Parrella and Mattera each ended the day with four goals, while Drew Shapiro and Katie Whelan added two each and Mary Kate Gerety scored once.
Drexel was able to quell the run with a pair of goals from Maggie Stetson to cut Hofstra’s lead to just a single goal, but Whelan and Parrella responded with two more goals to essentially ice the game.
The second-half eruption couldn’t have come at a better time for Hofstra, keeping them from falling to 1-3 in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).
“This was a must-win. We’re playing for our lives right now,” Smith said.
As it stands, Hofstra sits at .500 with a 2-2 conference mark heading into Friday night’s showdown with Towson University, a nationally-ranked program that has yet to lose in the CAA.