Hempstead, NY - The Hofstra Pride will be looking to secure a Colonial Athletic Association Championship Tournament bid when they host the Minutemen of Massachusetts this Saturday, April 20 at James M. Shuart Stadium. Game time for the contest, presented by North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, is 7 p.m.
Hofstra enters the UMass game with a 7-5 overall mark and a 2-2 record in the CAA. With three of the four CAA Tournament positions already taken by Penn State, Drexel and Towson, a Pride victory over the Minutemen will give Hofstra the final spot in the conference championship tournament. The entire CAA Championship will be held at the site of the highest seed with semifinals on Friday, May 3 and the final on May 5.
Hofstra is coming off a 14-5 loss to third-ranked North Carolina at Shuart Stadium last Saturday. The Pride led 5-3 in the second quarter before the Tar Heels went on an 11-0 run, including seven goals in the third quarter and three more in the fourth, for their sixth consecutive victory. Hofstra junior Lance Yapor led the Pride with two goals while senior Adrian Sorichetti and freshman Sam Llinares each recorded a goal and an assist. Pride sophomore goalie Chris Selva recorded a career-high 17 saves for his eighth consecutive contest with double-digit saves.
Hofstra is led in scoring by junior Torin Varn with 27 goals and two assists and freshman Sam Llinares with 17 goals and 12 assists. Llinares is on a 12-game goal and point streak. Sorichetti has tallied 13 goals and 11 assists while junior Drew Coholan has notched career-high numbers of 12 goals and six assists for 18 points. Yapor, who missed three games with an injury, now has eight goals and six assists while sophomore Mike Malave also has posted career-high numbers of 10 goals and three assists for 13 points. Senior John Antoniades leads the team with 59 ground balls and has won 110 of 213 face-offs for a .516 winning percentage. Selva ranks second in the nation in goals against average (6.95) and save percentage (.623) with 139 saves.
Saturday’s game against the Minutemen is the second oldest rivalry in Pride history but probably the fiercest. It is the 38th meeting between Hofstra and Massachusetts in a series that started in 1974. UMass leads the series 20-17. Eleven games in the series have been decided by just one goal, five have been decided by two goals and four decided by three goals. Last year, the Minutemen posted a 14-13 CAA victory over Hofstra in the New England Lacrosse Classic at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Two seasons ago at the ESPNU Warrior Classic at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, the Pride recorded a 14-5 victory over UMass.
The Minutemen of Massachusetts enter Saturday’s game with a 5-7 overall record and a 0-4 mark in the CAA. UMass has wins over Army (16-9), North Carolina (12-11), Harvard (8-6), Lehigh (6-4) and Hartford (13-11). Their losses have come against Brown (9-8 in OT), Albany (15-9), Bucknell (7-4), Penn State (7-5), St. Joseph’s (7-6), Towson (9-5) and Drexel (15-14).
Massachusetts, which averages 8.83 goals per game and ranks 17th in the country allowing 9.17 goals per contest, is led in scoring by senior attackman Kyle Smith with 22 goals and 15 assists for 37 points. Junior midfielder Connor Mooney has added 17 goals and seven assists while sophomore Grant Whiteway has chipped in with 18 goals and five assists. Junior Matt Whippen has contributed 14 goals and four assists while senior attackman Will Manny has posted nine goals and nine assists in seven games this season. Red-shirt freshman Zachary Oliveri has recorded an 8.56 goals against average and a .557 save percentage with 123 saves while starting all 12 games.