Comeback cut short as Hofstra falls to Providence
A spirited comeback came up just short for the Hofstra men’s lacrosse team, leading to an 11-10 defeat at the hands of Providence College on Saturday, March 16, at James M. Shuart Stadium.
A strong third quarter allowed the Pride to get back into the game, but the team could not finish off a red-hot Providence offense that was firing on all fronts.
Hofstra goaltender Bobby Casey gave up a weak game-winning goal, which proved to be the decider in a close matchup. His teammates had his back after the slip-up, embracing their goaltender during a tough moment.
“We have built a lot more chemistry this year,” said sophomore Jimmy Yanes. “We call it blue chairs. We have heard everyone’s story. I could tell you everything you need to know about [Casey]. We will always have each other’s backs no matter what.”
A 30-second penalty by Eric Wenz put the game away, and Providence was able to run-out the clock to secure the victory.
“Tough one today,” said Hofstra head coach Seth Tierney. “Lot of thoughts going through my head but you can’t go down 5-0 in a Division I game.”
Providence got the scoring started early into the game, but the Pride was quick to attempt a counterattack. Sterlyn Ardrey nearly got on the board just a few minutes in off a shot from the slot, but Providence netminder Tate Boyce was ready and made the save.
“[Boyce] is a good goalie,” Coach Tierney said. “He is a highly-respected goalie in Division I. Plus, it was the first time we have seen a leftie in quite some time.”
After four consecutive Providence goals just 10 minutes in, Seth Tierney used his first timeout and did not go easy on his squad in the huddle.
The timeout did not immediately motivate the Pride, as just a minute later Nick Hatzipetrakos scored off a beautiful feed from Ryan Nawrocki for the Friars. Hatzipetrakos placed the ball in the net as he was getting tripped and completed the play with a forward roll as he was embraced by his teammates.
However, the Pride finally got on the board with four minutes remaining in the first period off a Yanes goal. The team kept the pressure up, scoring another goal to make it a 5-2 game.
But it did not stop there. Ryan Tierney cut the deficit to two goals off a snipe late in the first period, giving the Pride all the momentum going into the next 15 minutes of action.
In spite of that, the action came to a screeching halt in the second quarter, and the Pride was unable to cut the deficit further. While they managed to fire 10 shots more on net, Boyce continued his strong play.
To start the second half, after yet another impressive save from Boyce, Providence marched down the field and got the scoring started again. Dan Axelson scored the goal with 1:53 into the half – he also scored 1:53 into the first half.
After another Providence goal, Ardrey responded right away, converting on a deserved goal after being robbed earlier in the game. This goal ignited a spark in the Pride offense, starting a run that would end with an 8-8 tie going into the fourth quarter.
“Certainly proud of our guys that they fought back so resiliently,” Coach Tierney said. “The stats say one thing, but there are a lot of guys that did some pretty good things for us.”
Seeking their first lead of the game, the Pride came out hot to start the final 15 minutes, and they got results early. Off a drive from the corner, Yanes tallied his second goal of the game to make the score 9-8, the Pride’s first lead of the game.
Providence quickly responded with two goals, but got a little too excited after their second tally. A conduct penalty was assessed due to excessive celebration, and Ardrey made Providence pay, once again tying the contest up, this time at 10 goals apiece.
“It felt great to get a hat-trick,” Ardrey said. “I have been working hard all week and the guys have helped me keep my head up.”
The conclusion of the game was chippy, as four penalties were handed out as time expired in a scuffle. It was a gritty one all afternoon, but tensions flared toward the end.
“We both knew going into this game it was going to be chippy,” Yanes said. “I was ready for them to talk some trash but we had to stay together.”
In disappointing fashion, the Pride had 42 shots, but only 26 were on net, a concerning statistic for Coach Tierney and his squad.
“We have to get the ball on the goal more,” Coach Tierney said. “I would have loved to do that more. The guys had a couple opportunities and we need them to take them personally. We needed to cash in on one more.”
The Pride will look to get back on track Saturday, March 23, when they take on Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey.
Image Courtesy of Hofstra Athletics