State College, Pa. – Hofstra scored back-to-back second-half goals but Syracuse netted two goals in the final 20 minutes as the Pride fell, 3-2, to the Orange in the season opener of the Penn State Invitational on Friday evening at Jeffrey Field.
Junior Sam Scolarici scored both Hofstra goals to give the Pride a 2-1 edge. Maddie Damm scored the equalizer in the 71st minute and Stephanie Skilton added the go-ahead goal in the 75th minute to give the Orange the win in the season’s first game for both teams.
Hofstra fell to 12-10 all-time on Opening Day. The Pride out-shot Syracuse, 7-6, including 6-3 in the second half. Yet the Orange won the first all-time meeting between the schools after opening the scoring early and mounting a comeback.
Syracuse took the early lead when Alexis Koval beat senior goalkeeper Emily Morphitis to the high side from almost 12 yards. The head-on shot at 4:25 was the game’s only scoring of the opening half. Morphitis, who earned Most Outstanding Player honors in Hofstra’s Colonial Athletic Association championship run last season, gave way to freshman Friederike Mehring to start the second half.
Scolarici gave Hofstra a lift when she scored her first goal in two seasons in the 59th minute when she found the net off a rebound. Orange goalkeeper Brittany Anghel made the initial stop before she scored off the put-back, marking her first goal since Oct. 2, 2011 against Delaware.
Scolarici, who scored on Opening Day for the second straight year, added the third two-goal game of her career when she took sophomore Leah Galton’s outlet pass and beat Anghel to the left side in the 67th minute for a 2-1 Hofstra edge. Scolarici and Galton combined for 21 of Hofstra’s 40 goals in 2012 and again proved to be an effective duo as the pair combined for four of Hofstra’s shots.
Scolarci also scored against Ohio State in a season-opening victory last year. The Aldie, Va. native now has 17 career goals.
The Orange struck back against Mehring, who was making her collegiate debut. Syracuse’s Erin Simon fed Damm for a 12-yard goal at 70:21 that knotted the score at 2. Just 4:05 later, Skilton moved in and beat Mehring via a one-on-one move to give the Orange the lead for good.
Galton was named the CAA’s Preseason Player of the Year and logged three shots in addition to her assist. The Harrogate, England native led Hofstra with 11 goals and 27 points as a freshman en route to the league’s Rookie of the Year honors and a spot on the NSCAA All-Mid Atlantic first team.
Emily Agudelo made herHofstra debuts as reserve. The Pride will conclude the PSU Invitational when Hofstra takes on the fourth-ranked Nittany Lions on Sunday at noon. Penn State was a finalist in the College Cup last season and the national-champion runners up have two players in Maya Hayes and Whitney Church who are on the MAC Hermann watch list for national Player of the Year honors.