For Ardrey, it starts with confidence and brotherhood
You either have it or you don’t. For Sterlyn Ardrey, it took a transition period to gain confidence in his athletic abilities.
“Confidence was my problem in the beginning,” Ardrey said. “I was not as confident as I should have been. But now I know I have a unique skill set, and when I realize that, I stop thinking and can just play.”
A graduate of The McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Ardrey honed his skills throughout his time in school and developed into a top lacrosse recruit. In high school, he got a preview of what it would be like to play for the Hofstra men’s lacrosse team.
“I went to an all-boys school,” Ardrey said. “Being here is great. I am happy to be here and have a similar feeling like I did in high school.”
That brotherhood has allowed the Pride to create something they have not had in years: a raw, young team with endless potential.
The future of the program depends on its young stars, but for a team with so much youth, the present depends on them too.
Ardrey is one of the key pieces of the youth movement. He burst onto the scene this season after securing his first point in a crucial rivalry game against Stony Brook University.
“That was really cool,” Ardrey said. “In high school, you have one rivalry. Here we have multiple. The Long Island Rivalry is aggressive but fun. It is a brawl.”
The coming out party came just a few weeks later when Ardrey recorded three goals against a very solid Providence College team. Not only was he a crucial component for his team, but his performance ignited a newfound attitude toward the game.
“I struggled the weekend before,” Ardrey said. “That week, I stopped worrying about the little things. My first hat trick gave me a confidence booster.”
However, just two weeks later, Ardrey hit a roadblock that is becoming far too common for an injury-ravaged team.
Possessing the ball, Ardrey drove toward the net and was immediately met with a vicious hit from a University of Massachusetts defender. His teammates stood up for him, nearly getting into a fight with the culprit. Ardrey was ruled out for the rest of the game after the incident.
“I plan on being back between now and next week,” Ardrey said. “I feel pretty confident that I will be able to come back strong.”
On the scoresheet, a three minute penalty was awarded. But for Ardrey, he was awarded with a testament to the brotherhood the Pride share.
“Having brotherhood takes a team a long way,” Ardrey said. “It is more than skillset and athletic ability.”
While every player has a crucial role for the Pride, on the field, Ryan Tierney plays a big part in the team’s success. Tierney has notched 39 goals and 11 assists so far this season, while also picking up 26 ground balls.
He tallied six goals and two assists on Saturday, April 6, against UMass, earning national praise for his performance, but his outburst did not surprise his teammate one bit.
“[Tierney] is so confident,” Ardrey said. “He has had his bad games but he always steps up. And that is important because we need him.”
In net, Bobby Casey has the steadfast support of his teammates, just like he supports them as the team’s last resort.
Casey has amassed 784 minutes of play, saving 51.4% of shots en route to a 4-9 record. While that record may seem far from perfect, it does not tell the whole story.
“[Casey] is a heck of a player,” Ardrey said. “I have looked up to him since the first time I met him. He is someone that is working so hard to prove a point and keep his team in every game.”
The Pride has lost four one-goal matchups, a handful of games that could have easily gone the other way. While it is easy to focus on the past, the Pride is excited to use these experiences to learn for the rest of the season.
“These close games build the brotherhood,” Ardrey said. “It is a domino effect. We have gotten better at one thing every single game”
Despite not making the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) tournament this season, it is all about staying confident and maintaining their unique brotherhood for this Hofstra team.
“This is our house,” Ardrey said. “We need to let go a bit, have some fun and focus on the goal. We are a brotherhood that can do anything we set our minds to.”
Image courtesy of Hofstra Athletics