With the completion of the Pride's four-scrimmage (2-2) preseason Sunday, the Hofstra Men's Lacrosse team will now turn its attention to the Pioneers of Sacred Heart University for the 2013 regular season opener on Saturday, February 16 at 1:30 p.m. at James M. Shuart Stadium
Entering his seventh season as Hofstra Head Men's Lacrosse Coach will be looking to return the Pride to the top of the Colonial Athletic Association and to their fifth NCAA Division I Championship bid in the past six seasons in 2013.
The seventh-year mentor will have 27 returnees including seven starters from last season's snake-bitten squad that posted a 6-8 overall record. The Pride dropped six games by a one-goal margin including four contests in overtime. Some of the one goal losses were to top-ranked Massachusetts (14-13), seventh-ranked Notre Dame (6-5), 14th-ranked Penn State (9-8 in double-overtime) and 20th-ranked Fairfield (10-9 in triple overtime).
Tierney is hoping that the adversity the 2012 squad faced, in the form of those close losses and needing just a couple of more goals to turn around a losing season, will become a learning experience and a strength in 2013. While the Pride played with 23 freshman and sophomores a year ago and averaged a respectable 9.36 goals per game, they did score in double-digits in only five games and lost 42 of their 131 goals to graduation and transfer. But the experience that the underclassmen received in 2012 and the bad taste of those losses where the Pride had opportunities to win but didn't, will give the Hofstra offense a renewed commitment to make every shot count in 2013.
On defense, the Pride ranked 13th in the country In scoring defense, allowing just 8.79 goals per game behind four-year starting goalie , who ranked 12th in Division I in goals against average (8.50) and an experienced defense. But while the close defense returns intact, one of the biggest questions for the Pride will be who will fill Gvozden's shoes in the cage in 2013.
While losing starter and his 21 goals and eight assists on the 2012 front line from to graduation, the Pride staff went into the January preseason practice period undecided on the starting attack. Leading the attack is returning junior starter (Glenview, IL), who was second on the team in goals (25), assists (10) and points (35) in 2012. After Yapor, the Pride staff is looking at several possibilities that could affect both the attack and the midfield units. Senior (Whitby, ON, Canada), who was on the starting midfield in 2012, could be moved to the attack line after leading the Pride in scoring with 24 goals and 14 assists for a team-high 38 points. The All-CAA first team selection a year ago tallied a career-high seven goals and 10 points against St. John's last season which are the most goals by a Pride player since 2003 and the most points since 1989. Sorichetti is coming off a back injury late last season that kept him out of the fall season. Junior (Ithaca, NY), who was also mostly a midfielder last year but played attack in the fall and at the end of the 2012 season, tallied eight goals and one assist last year.
Sophomore (East Islip, NY), who started in 12 of the 14 games that he played in last season, was fifth on the team in scoring last season with 10 goals and seven assists. Senior (Chappaqua, NY) is another veteran player who will also be challenging for playing time on attack.
Several newcomers could also figure in the mix on attack that would move players around lines and positions. Heading this group are freshmen (Hauppauge, NY) and (Orlando, FL). Llinares, both a U.S. Lacrosse and Under Armour All-American as a senior, was also an inaugural member of the National Interscholastic Lacrosse Coaches of America (NILCA) All-America Team after recording 59 goals and 47 assists at Hauppauge High School. Rooney, a two-time U.S. Lacrosse All-American, tallied 202 goals in his final three seasons at Timber Creek High School including 87 goals as a senior.
With the Pride coaching staff looking for the right chemistry and firepower on attack, the offensive midfields could be affected as well. If Sorichetti moves to attack, the Pride will have lost two starters on the first midfield after the graduation of graduate-student (10 goals, 8 assists). But two former starters, graduate-student (Mullica Hill, NJ) and red-shirt junior (Rochester, NY), who were both injured last season, will be looking to return to starting roles when they are ready. One of four team captains this season, Loizeaux, who has endured two knee surgeries in the last 18 months, started all 16 games in 2011 and was an All-CAA first team selection in 2010. Coholan, who has endured two shoulder surgeries that have caused him to miss most of 2011 and all but the season-opener in 2012, has a great passion for the game and solid play-making and goal scoring abilities.
The one returning starter on the first midfield is sophomore (Wading River, NY), who played in 13 games and started eight as a freshman. The 2012 CAA All-Rookie Team selection tallied nine goals and two assists a year ago and will be looking for more with an improved shot. Senior (Fairport, NY) tallied six goals and one assist last season and has played on the either the first or second midfield units the past two seasons. Senior (East Meadow, NY), who transferred to Hofstra from Navy last year and played five games for the Pride, and two more sophomores , who could be moved from attack, and (Morton, PA), who recorded two goals and five assists in 10 games last season, could also figure in the first two midfields.
Some promising newcomers in (Wantagh, NY), a two-time All-Nassau County selection from Wantagh High School, (Jupiter, FL), an All-Florida first team selection out of Jupiter Christian High School, and (Dallas, TX), a three-time All-Texas selection from the Episcopal School of Dallas, are also expected to challenge for playing time after solid fall seasons.
The long-stick middie job is up in the air after a foot injury to junior after the fall season. Caputo, who played in 14 games and started nine on close defense last season, may return in 2013 but it could be March at the earliest . Sophomore , who was a starting pole in the second half of 2012, picked up 34 ground balls and caused a team-high 13 turnovers and appears to be one of the poles. Rielly was a member of the All-CAA Rookie Team last season. Three players, senior (North Massapequa, NY), who was converted from the goal in 2012, red-shirt sophomore (Bethlehem, PA) and red-shirt freshman (Charlotte, NC) will battle it out for the second pole.
The short-stick defensive middie spot also looks to be a battle with junior (Ballston Lake, NY), who saw a great deal of time on the man-down unit in 11 games last season, as the front-runner. Sophomores (Massapequa, NY), who played in 13 games and picked up 23 ground balls and forced six turnovers, and (Wantagh, NY), who saw action in 12 games and scooped up 16 ground balls and forced five turnovers, and red-shirt junior (Gansevoort, NY) will also look to figure here.
The face-off duties fall back into the hands of senior captain (Hauppauge, NY), who was a 2012 All-CAA second team selection after being a USILA All-American honorable mention in 2011. Antoniades won 54 percent of his face-offs which ranked 22nd in the country last season. He also picked up a team-high 75 ground balls to go with his two goals and one assist. Sophomore (Garden City, NY), a transfer from Bryant University and a 2010 All-New York selection at Garden City High School, and newcomers (Laurel Hollow, NY) from Cold Spring Harbor High School, and (Bridgewater, NJ) from Bridgewater-Raritan High School will also be looking to challenge Antoniades.
The close defense is an experienced group led by fifth-year graduate-student and returning starter (Harleysville, PA). An All-CAA second team selection in 2012, Mullen, who generally marked the opponent's top offensive threat, picked up 16 ground balls and was second on the team with 10 forced turnovers. Fellow graduate-student (Brighton, MI) played in 13 games and started four late last season and picked up 21 ground balls and caused six turnovers. Senior (Dallas, TX), who has been a three-year starter on the Pride back line, picked up 14 ground balls and forced eight turnovers as a junior. Those three and Gvozden formed a defense that ranked 13th in goals against average last year
Red-shirt sophomore (East Northport, NY), who missed the 2012 season with an injury after playing in five games in 2011, will be looking for playing time on the back line along with sophomore Guiiano Bove (Garden City, NY) and freshmen (West Roxbury, MA) from Avon Old Farms School in Connecticut and (Hicksville, NY), a two-time all-county selection from Hicksville High School.
Tierney calls the battle for the starting goalie position the most intriguing position change this season after the graduation of four-year starter . Four goalies, including two with Division I experience and one with brief playing experience in the Pride cage, will battle right down to the final preseason scrimmages, and possibly beyond, for the starting nod.
Senior (Edgewater, MD), who came to Hofstra in 2012, posted a 6.91 goals against average in six games over two seasons at Ohio State in 2010 and 2011. Junior (Long Beach, NY) comes to Hofstra after being a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-American second team selection at Nassau (NY) Community College in 2012. Junior (Massapequa, NY) was a standout at Massapequa High School before collegiate stops at Towson and Miami (FL). Sophomore (Parkland, FL) saw limited time in two games for the Pride last season and has been the most competitive in the cage.