April 23, 2011

Hofstra Harnesses 'Dislike' of UMass to Win Big at ESPNU Warrior Classic

by Jason Remillard | LaxMagazine.com | ESPNU Warrior Classic Live Blog

Hofstra attackman Jay Card (3g, 1a) kept his 41-game scoring streak alive and the Pride defense kept UMass attackman Will Manny scoreless for the first time in his career, as the Pride defeated the Minutemen 14-5 at Rentschler Field.

© Joe Rogate

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. -- As would be expected any time league rivals play each other as often as these two, the Hofstra University men's lacrosse team harbors a little animosity toward the University of Massachusetts.

"Dislike," Pride coach Seth Tierney said, taking the politically correct route.

At a team dinner Friday before the ESPNU Warrior Classic, Tierney read a series of inspirational letters written by former Hofstra players and had a few there to speak directly. Some played for the 2006 team that blew a five-goal lead late in an NCAA quarterfinal and asked themselves "what if" when the Minutemen reached the national championship game.

The motivation appeared to work, as Hofstra used a dominant third quarter to take a 14-5 Colonial Athletic Association victory over UMass at Rentschler Field in the 20th straight regular-season meeting between the clubs since 1992.

"It's great to hear from people from the past who have played on the team and how they feel about UMass and the rivalry," said Hofstra freshman attack Lance Yapor, who scored his first two collegiate goals. "It just gets you pumped up a bit to hear what they have to say about UMass."

After UMass scored twice late in the second quarter, Hofstra made sure the momentum didn't go very far in the third. The Pride dominated every statistical category and scored five goals to take a 12-2 lead after 45 minutes.

No. 15 UMass (8-4, 3-2) looked like it had stolen the momentum away when senior midfielder Steve Zorkers careened a shot off Hofstra goalie Andrew Gvozden, which trickled behind the goal line as time expired in the second quarter. It was Zorkers' first goal since the 2008 season and second of his career.

However, No. 8 Hofstra (12-1, 4-1) outshot UMass 17-2 in the third, won all six faceoffs, held a 10-2 edge in groundballs and a 7-0 cushion on the scoreboard. By the time the Minutemen opened the fourth quarter with three consecutive goals, the damage was more than done.

"To be honest with you, what spurred that quarter is what happened at the end of the half," Tierney said. "We went into halftime disappointed that it wasn't 7-1. When you've got 18-to-22 year-old kids, you want to keep it rolling."

Senior attackman Jay Card extended his points streak to 41 consecutive games by recording four points and an assist. John Antoniades won 15 of 20 faceoffs for the game.

More importantly, the Pride defeated one of the two teams it entered the day tied with for second place in the CAA. Hofstra hosts the other team, Penn State, next Saturday in Hempstead, N.Y.

While Card's points streak continues, the same can't be said for UMass sophomore Will Manny, who was held off the scoresheet for the first time in his college career (25 games) while commiting a game-high six turnovers. Tierney credited senior longpole Mike Skudin for shutting Manny down.

By going scoreless for the first 26:41, the Minutemen endured their longest scoring drought since a 30:07 skein nearly two years ago to the day. In that game, UMass fell behind 9-0 at Syracuse before losing 16-3.

"It's great to see that our defense stepped up against a great offensive team," said Hofstra middie Adrian Sorichetti, who had three goals.

UMass' Art Kell was also held pretty much in check until he scored the first two goals of the fourth. Colin Fleming also tallied, as the Minutemen started the quarter on a 3-0 run but could not find the back of the cage again.

"We were outplayed in every facet of the game," UMass coach Greg Cannella said. "We lost every faceoff, it seemed, and we never had the ball. A lot of the credit goes to Hofstra."

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