Men's lacrosse picks up crucial CAA win against No. 17 UMass
Ryan Tierney and Dylan McIntosh did it again. After a thrilling 63 minutes of action, McIntosh scored the game-winning goal to complete a 10-9 upset over 17th-ranked University of Massachusetts (UMass) on Saturday, April 6, at James M. Shuart Stadium.
Ryan Tierney finished the game with a career-high six goals, while redshirt sophomore goaltender Bobby Casey kept the Pride in the game by making a career-high 16 saves.
“We outshot UMass 40-39,” said Hofstra head coach Seth Tierney. “[Casey] had 16 saves. We needed every last shot and save.”
Trailing most of the game, it looked like the Pride was simply outmatched. Ryan Tierney would not let that happen, however, willing the Pride to overtime by tying the game at nine with just 1:48 to play.
“I don’t know if I can put this into words,” Coach Tierney said. “If you were in our locker room, it would tell the story. It was a release of pressure that has built up for two months.”
Ryan Tierney nearly won the game in regulation, but UMass senior goalie Sean Sconone corralled a powerful shot, sending the game to a sudden-death overtime period.
That is where the Pride shone, drawing a penalty and sending the home crowd home happy after a monumental comeback. For a team that came into the day with a 3-7 record, they showed confidence against a top team.
“Winning in overtime after losing six out of seven is a great thing,” Casey said. “After everything that has happened, it takes a lot of mental toughness to go out there and win in overtime. But as soon as we went a man-up, I knew exactly what would happen. We were going to win this game.”
Three minutes into the game, McIntosh made a triumphant return to Hempstead after missing time due to injury with a perfectly placed shot, giving the Pride an early 1-0 lead. After UMass tallied a goal, Ryan Tierney responded to once again put his team on top.
UMass came storming back, quickly going on a 2-0 run late in the first quarter. In a 2-2 game, after an aggressive play by Sconone, UMass cleared the zone and started a break. They were able to capitalize thanks to a long-pole goal by Isaac Paparo, giving the Minutemen a 3-2 lead.
The second quarter provided a similar narrative: back-and-forth action with UMass maintaining a slight edge.
Kevin Cutinella quickly notched another goal for the Minutemen, charging past Corey Kale and beating Casey low. A brief back-and-forth followed, culminating with Paparo’s second tally of the game off a rocket of a shot. That goal secured the lead for UMass, and the Pride went to the half trailing 6-4.
Turnovers and faceoff losses plagued the Pride in the opening 30 minutes, leading to many chances for the Minutemen.
“The stats say 7-23 in the faceoff circle,” Coach Tierney said. “But the stats also say 10-9 Hofstra.”
30 goals for a full season is an impressive tally. Ryan Tierney secured the milestone mark in merely 11 games. His 30th was yet another crucial marker, cutting the deficit to one goal just a minute into the second half.
“We have had some downs, but we always stay positive,” Coach Tierney said. “5:30 a.m. runs built us. Our performance today is what we got out of it.”
Riley Forte continued the momentum, putting home a rebound to tie the game. Casey matched his team’s effort, making save after save to keep the game even. However, his magic ran out when Devin Spencer scored from in close, making the game 7-6 in favor of the Minutemen. Each team scored before the end of the quarter, and the game was 8-7 entering the final quarter of play.
Things got chippy in the fourth. Jeff Trainor charged to the net, scoring a goal and tallying his 100th career goal in the process. When Hofstra attempted to respond, chaos nearly ensued.
Sterlyn Ardrey drove toward the net, only to be checked up high by a UMass defender. A fight seemed imminent, creating a tenacious scene as the game was winding down to the wire. While no fisticuffs were exchanged, the referees gifted the Pride with a three-minute extra-man advantage.
“This game was for men,” Coach Tierney said. “There are two teams out there that are trying to kill each other. Hopefully, [Ardrey] is okay.”
Minutes later, Casey made a huge save, stopping a shot from a few feet away that led to a Hofstra break on the other end. After a few missed passes, Jimmy Yanes secured possession and flew into the crease, scoring along the way. Add a Superman cape and he would not have looked out of place.
The rest was history. Ryan Tierney and McIntosh did what they do best en route to a defining upset for a struggling program. In a five-game Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) slate, a win like this does wonders.
“We had run into some tough luck,” Coach Tierney said. “We have been playing and practicing without confidence, without a belief that we can do this. Today gave us confidence.”
Hofstra heads to Delaware next Saturday, April 13, to take on the University of Delaware Blue Hens at 2 p.m. in yet another crucial CAA matchup.
Photo courtesy of Hofstra Athletics