April 12, 2014

Hofstra Earns Big Boost With OT Win Over Cornell

by Joe Pantorno | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

In-Game Blog Replay


According to Hofstra University men's lacrosse head coach Seth Tierney, it's hard to come back from a five-minute beating the likes his program experienced at the hands of Cornell on Saturday afternoon.

Entering the fourth quarter down 7-4, No. 6 Cornell scored five goals in 4:55 to begin the final frame and seemingly take the game by the scruff of the neck.

But No. 15 Hofstra, who has had its fair share of difficulty in the fourth quarter of games the past few seasons, had some unexpected fight left in them.

Down 9-7 with 3:22 remaining, Hofstra (9-3) scored two goals to force overtime and junior midfielder Mike Malave delivered the game-winning goal 44 seconds in the extra period to shock Cornell (9-3).

"The guys just stayed the course, which is tough to do when you're up three and five minutes later, you're down two," Tierney said. "To get staggered and not go down, I'm awfully proud of these guys."

Malave's unassisted goal, his third of the afternoon, had him streak down the right side, dodge a defender, and deliver a bouncing shot that found a way through Cornell's Christian Knight.

"The winner wasn't exactly how we drew it up," Malave said. "I kind of just bounced outside, saw there was something, had to trust it, had to go with it."

Hofstra continues its hot streak, winners of nine of their last 10 games. It is the first time the Pride has beaten Cornell since 2003 while taking down a top-10 team since beating no. 2 Notre Dame last season. It is the first time Hofstra has defeated a top-10 program in overtime since taking down Army in 2001.

Losers of three-straight games, it is the first time since the end of the 2012 season that Cornell has dropped this many in a row, though only one was to an Ivy League foe.

Goals from senior midfielder Drew Coholan and sophomore attack Sam Llinares knotted the game with 1:06 remaining in the fourth quarter after Joe Paoletta-led Cornell looked to have put the game away. Cornell's senior midfielder led all scorers with four goals on the afternoon. Llinares' goal came after meandering around the net, taking on a Cornell defense that had done well to stifle Hofstra at times.

"The Cornell defense played phenomenal," Llinares said. "I just had a little bit of a space and thankfully it went it."

With a goal and three assists, Llinares now has a 25-game point streak.

Celebrating senior day at Hofstra, it was a senior, attack Torin Varn who recorded a hat-trick for Hofstra as his big day held a bit more of significance. A native of Ithaca, NY, Varn grew up minutes away from Cornell, growing up with its lacrosse program right in his back yard.

"Cornell used to have a special place in my heart," Varn said. "It was a privilege watching them while I was growing up. I have the utmost respect for the program. But I'm a Hofstra guy now and I couldn't be happier with the win."

Hofstra used a 7-2 run in the second and third quarter to take its three-goal lead thanks to the special teams that saw Hofstra's man-up opportunity squad go 3-of-4.

"Two, three weeks ago, we threw the whole man-up scheme out," Tierney said. "We told the fellas to be loose, run a different couple of sets...but we put the ball back in their hands."

Not only is the ball back in their hands, but the confidence is back in Hofstra's program as the Pride looks to clinch home field advantage in the CAA Tournament with a win over UMass next Saturday.

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