Welcome, folks. We’ve got a good one on our hands here. In the northeast, this rivalry has to rank near the top, if not No. 1. UMass holds an 18-15 lead in the series, although it’s been a bit one-sided of late. The Minutemen have won seven of the last eight. The only loss in that stretch came here at Shuart Stadium two years ago in similarly cool conditions. Hofstra, which is 10-6 at home against UMass, comes in as the favorite, ranked 13th in the country, while UMass snuck into the poll at No. 20 following last weekend’s win.
Not a cloud in the sky here in Hempstead; as far as February games go, the conditions are about ideal. The temperature’s coming in at about 40 degrees with a moderate breeze from the west. All that said, Feb. 21 is the earliest in the year that Hofstra has ever played a game; UMass would be saying the same if it hadn’t beaten Sacred Heart a week ago.
The Pride aren’t messing around in the early going - UMass, at Brown, at Hopkins and home to Princeton. Those are four ranked teams with a whole lot of tradition. They’d have to be thrilled with 3-1 and satisfied with 2-2 before starting CAA play. North Carolina visits town in April.
No Anthony Muscarella today for Hofstra. He violated a team rule and will be back next week. Hofstra gladly welcomed back defender Adam Swarsen, who missed all of last year with a knee injury.
I’m interested to see what this UMass team is made of. Between suspensions and embarrassing losses (i.e. 15-1 at home to Loyola), last year couldn’t have been tougher. They avenged last year’s loss to Sacred Heart; let’s see if they can build on it and look like a double-digit win team.
Hofstra in white head-to-toe with blue trim. UMass wearing maroon shirts with white trim and black shorts.
UMass (1-0, 0-0 ECAC)
A: Tim Balise
A: Jim Connolly
A: Art Kell
M: Ryan Marcus
M: Ryan Hantverk
M: Bobby Hayes
D: Brennan Mack
D: Diogo Godoi
D: Greg Anderson
G: Doc Schneider
Hofstra (0-0, 0-0 CAA)
A: Tom Dooley
A: Jay Card
A: Dan Stein
M: Michael Colleluori
M: Kevin Ford
M: Ryan Carter
D: Ryan Smith
D: Adam Swarsen
D: Christian Scuderi
G: Danny Orlando
11:14: UMass is on the board. Evan Blum comes in from the right side and bounces it past Orlando for a 1-0 lead. Each team with early chances. Connolly breaks free on the right post but Orlando is there to make the stop. Hofstra collects and has a good look of its own but Dooley rings it off the left post. UMASS 1-0
6:33: No luck for the Pride here; has to be just a matter of time here. Schneider makes a point-blank save, and then Hofstra clangs one off the same left post. Connolly made it 2-0 UMass on a pretty feed from Marcus. Pride wasted a UMass EMO after Mark Mullen was pegged for making a hit without a stick. UMASS 2-0
2:48: UMass gets caught offsides and seconds later is bagged for roughing. Hofstra cashes in two men up and Kevin Ford fires a bullet from the top off a feed from Card. Watch this one: last year, UMass was fifth in the country burning off EMOs (80.6%), and the Pride were seventh on the man-up (42.1%). Schneider just saved another one; he’s looking real sharp early. UMASS 2-1
END 1: Plenty of action here. First, freshman Anthony Toresco zips one from 15 yards out to give the Minutemen some insurance. Blum on the assist. Then, with two seconds on the clock, Dan Stein reverses course behind the cage and gets just enough space to beat Schneider. UMASS 3-2
9:59: Hofstra getting nothing in close early in the second; eight shots, none on goal, and finally UMass takes possession. They don’t waste any time - Balise to Pedrick, who converts from 20 yards out. Minutemen had won the opening faceoff but committed their sixth turnover against Hofstra’s one. UMASS 4-2
5:36: Orlando denies Connolly just outside the circle but Pedrick cleanly intercepts a pass to the right of Schneider to send UMass in the other direction. Hofstra tightening up its D. UMASS 4-2
1:48: Oh boy, here we go. Hofstra fighting to stay in it. Steve DeNapoli with a great individual effort, firing high past Schneider despite tripping. It came after one of the most exciting plays in lacrosse. Joe Reale wins the faceoff cleanly, barrels downfield and scores to put UMass up four. Ryan Hantverk had added to the Minuteman lead moments before by dodging left from the X and bouncing it home. UMASS 6-3
Fantastic half for UMass. Bobby Hayes fires a missile from the left wing to put them up 7-3 with 14 seconds left, which is where it stands now. Dooley, who has been all but invisible early, just misfired at the buzzer - not sure it would have counted anyway. Any questions its critics had, or even they had, have been answered at least temporarily. Seven goals and seven different guys doing it - that has to please the heck out of Cannella.
Miserable second quarter for the Pride. They took 10 shots and aside from the DeNapoli goal, none were on goal. UMass’ close defense of Mack, Godoi and Anderson are imposing their will on the Pride attack. Godoi is just a force.
Faceoffs favor UMass 7-5. That’s a good sign consider Sacred Heart edged the Minutemen 14-10 in that category last weekend. Shots at 21-20 UMass.
Hofstra has played the last quarter-and-a-half without defender Ryan Smith, who hobbled off with a right knee injury.
11:34: Two more posts for the Pride, and both robbing Kevin Ford! Hofstra’s going to need the iron to be a little kinder to crawl back into this one. UMASS 7-3
7:20: The Pride trying to build some momentum. Schneider can’t quite corral a shot from Mike Colleluori from 10 yards. Hofstra gains possession on a loose ball hold by UMass yet can’t cash in. UMASS 7-4
3:50: Hofstra strikes again! Ryan Carter shoots one past Schneider’s left leg to cut the deficit to two. Hofstra hasn’t been able to buy a groundball, and it’s thwarting any opportunity for the Pride to get off in transition. Nevertheless, they’re right back in it. Orlando with a huge save on Hayes! Here they come again. UMASS 7-5
END 3: Great quarter for Hofstra. They got a terrific look but Card is denied by Schneider. Hofstra beginning to find the seams. The Minutemen certainly aren’t afraid to throw their bodies around; they pay for it with 35 seconds left as Art Kell gets hit for a cross-check. UMass would sure like a little more breathing room. They had a 7-5 lead against Sacred Heart before running off seven straight - not likely the way this is going. You get the feeling this is going to be a one-goal game. UMASS 7-5
13:35: Stein wheels around the back and shoots off-balance through traffic to slice the deficit in half. Beautiful goal. UMASS 7-6
11:56: Prifke groundball, DeNapoli clears, Hofstra on the attack. Schneider takes one off his left hand and felt it. He kicks a DeNapoli shot wide to keep UMass front. Cannella wants a timeout. All the momentum is in the Pride’s corner right now. UMass not only hasn’t scored a second-half goal, but they haven’t really threatened. UMASS 7-6
11:00: BACK AND FORTH! Colleluori to Card on the left post ties it. I don’t know how Card goes unmarked and unchecked there. That was too easy. Reale scores from an impossible angle on the right side to put UMass back in front. Massive goal. UMASS 8-7
8:22: Ford again! UMass’ Brennan Mack nailed for a hold after he pulls down Card in close. On the EMO, Card feeds Ford up top who fires unabated over Schneider’s right shoulder. TIED 8-8
7:06: Minutemen back in front! Schneider makes a stop and Reale carries it into UMass’ half. Connolly then finds Blum in stride and he buries it from 20 yards out. UMASS 9-8
4:33: Hofstra wins the faceoff but after a weak shot from way out, they’re hit for interference. UMass possesses. UMASS 9-8
3:49: Beautiful look from Biscardi to Pedrick who turns and launches one high past Orlando. The Minutemen seem to have taken Hofstra’s best shot. Plenty of time left though. UMASS 10-8
2:44: ONE-GOAL GAME! Colleluori breaks free on the left side and scores from a tough angle. Careless turnover by UMass to set it up. Hofstra wins the next faceoff. UMASS 10-9
1:34: THE DOCTOR IS IN! Schneider makes a magnificent save on a Stein chance in close! UMASS 10-9
1:12: TIED UP AGAIN! Schneider can’t save that missile from Card. What a game. Hofstra takes the next draw and Tierney calls timeout. Note that 11-10 was the score of the 2006 NCAA quarterfinal in which UMass came from 10-5 down in the fourth quarter to win in overtime. That’s what we’re looking at here. TIED 10-10
FINAL: CALL IT A COMEBACK! Jay Card finds some real estate by splitting a pair of UMass defenders and beats Schneider. Colleluori barely misfired prior to that. Great win for Hofstra. It breaks a 29-game win streak for UMass when they score 10 goals. HOFSTRA 11-10
Hofstra Goals: Jay Card 3, Mike Colleluori 2, Kevin Ford 2, Dan Stein 2, Ryan Carter 1, Steve DeNapoli 1
Hofstra Assists: Mike Colleluori 3, Jay Card 2, Ryan Carter 1
UMass Goals: Evan Blum 2, Rory Pedrick 2, Joe Reale 2, Jim Connolly 1, Anthony Biscardi 1, Bobby Hayes 1, Ryan Hantverk 1
UMass Assists: Tim Balise 1, Anthony Biscardi 1, Evan Blum 1, Jim Connolly 1, Ryan Marcus 1, Rory Pedrick 1
Saves: M, Doc Schneider 8; H, Danny Orlando 5
Second Effort: Here’s how slanted the field was in the second half. Hofstra outshot UMass 56-31 on the game, including 36-10 in the second half. Now, the quality of those shots varied but the Pride were really putting the pressure on the UMass D. For groundballs, Hofstra won that battle 17-10 after halftime. Finally, UMass had 17 turnovers to Hofstra’s 7, including a 9-1 margin in the final two quarters. That’s not how you close a game. Most importantly, the Pride had the edge in goals 8-3.
“In the first half, we had some opportunities; we just didn’t finish,” Colleluori said. “Doc Schneider is a great goalie. They really came out and played us really hard. In the second half, we came out and knew what we had to do. We found some seams, got some things going, got the defense rotating and we put the ball in the back of the cage.”
Others In Charge: The teams’ big guns were curiously quiet on the day. Tom Dooley, he of 90 career goals, was kept out of the scoring log, while Tim Balise, who had four points last week, had a single assist. Balise had had four goals in UMass’ 8-6 win over Hofstra last season in Amherst. As for Dooley, that’s two straight UMass-Hofstra games that he’s been held scoreless; in 2007, he tallied two goals in Hofstra’s 8-6 win, and a single mark in UMass’ 11-7 win in 2006.
“We put a short stick on him and tried to shut him off a bunch of times,” Cannella said. “He’s guy that can score in bunches and quickly. I think the gameplan that Jake Coon put together to shut him down worked out pretty well. As good of team as Hofstra is, they have a lot of other weapons, and that’s what got us.”
Enemy Territory: The win makes it 25 of the last 31 for Hofstra at Shuart Stadium. UMass becomes the latest ranked team to try and fail in Hempstead within the last five years. They’re joined by Johns Hopkins (x2), North Carolina, Princeton, Notre Dame, Stony Brook, Towson, Army, Hofstra and Delaware
Seth Tierney, who has to be on the short list for best post-game quote, had this to say: “They came out and they reclaimed their field. We’ve talked about Shuart Stadium being a sacred place to play from this year forward. Opponents need to know that it’s going to be a daunting task to play here at Shuart Stadium.”
Doc Delivers: Doc Schneider moved into fourth place on UMass’ all-time saves list. His total of 563 puts him one ahead of Tom LoPresti (562). He’s not catching No. 1. That’s Sal LoCascio, whose 931 stops are an NCAA record.
“Doc kept us in the game,” Cannella said. “We hope that he can keep us in every game. He’s an outstanding goalie and he’s a great leader. You hate to see the look on his face after a game like this.”
Next Up: Hofstra @ Brown, Feb. 28, 12 p.m. EST; Yale @ UMass, Feb. 28, 1 p.m. EST