Women's lacrosse looks to young core for success
After finishing No. 5 in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) with a 2-4 conference record, Hofstra’s women’s lacrosse will look to advance further in the upcoming season. The Pride missed the CAA tournament after a 9-13 loss against High Point in a tie-breaking game.
“I think we were young last year,” said Hofstra head coach Shannon Smith. “We had a lot of mistakes in crucial moments that I think steered some of the game scores for us. I think that our conference is extremely tough. It’s like a backyard brawl every game. I think that this year we just have a new energy, we have a new culture, we have new expectations and that’s due to our leadership. We’re excited for this season and hopefully our tough non-conference schedule prepares us for our conference schedule.”
This year, the team was selected to finish No. 4 in the conference in the preseason polls.
The Pride lost last year’s starting goalie, Maddie Fields, as she steps away for her senior year to take care of injuries. Fields played in all 17 games last season and posted a .452 save percentage.
Incoming freshmen Jess Smith and senior Sara Guarascio will be in goal this year for the Pride. Guarascio played five games last season and recorded seven saves.
“Sara and Jess are both playing really well and are two different types of goalies,” Shannon Smith said. “Sara has been a really great leader to Jess and it’s been really fun to watch them play.”
The Pride added 10 freshmen to the lineup this season as they look to strengthen their team with new talent.
“They’re all really good,” Shannon Smith said. “I think that even players that maybe didn’t get as much playing time in the fall have really stepped up in preseason and have gotten so much better. I think a lot of them are going to really step up for us and do really well so I’m excited to see it.”
The upperclassmen will play an important role as they help to guide the freshmen in their first year.
“My teammates had my back and they really gave me the confidence to be the player that I could be,” said junior midfielder Alexa Mattera. “With the freshmen coming in some of them are timid and they’re a little shy, but I think they are really coming out of their shells and really showing what they can be. I see so much potential in all of them, and I think just being there for them and showing them that they can be better is really helping them.”
Junior midfielder Alyssa Parrella will looked to be more relaxed this year after an outstanding sophomore season. Parrella ranked No. 1 in the CAA in points and No. 2 in goals. She also tied the program record for goals in a single season with 57.
“I definitely do think I put pressure on myself,” Parrella said. “But this year I made it a goal for myself to be more positive and play more enjoyable and fun. I think that we are living in the moment this year because it’s so special. Every day at practice we are trying to make it memorable and enjoyable. Instead of looking 50 steps forward, I think we are staying more focused on what’s here and what’s now and [we’re] going to go from there and not be to ahead of ourselves.”
Both Parella and Mattera were selected to the 2019 CAA Preseason Team.
The Pride is anxious to start the season and to see how this team will do in a tough 2019 schedule. In March, the Pride will have a rematch of their season-deciding game against High Point and will later face the reigning NCAA champions James Madison University during their conference schedule.
“I think we are all just really excited to be able to put on our jerseys and step out on the field as a team and see all that extra work, all the hard work, all the long days of practice just pay off in the end and see what our team is actually really capable of,” Mattera said.
The Pride will travel to the golden state on Saturday, Feb. 9, to play their first game of the season against the University of Southern California.
Photo courtesy of Hofstra Athletics