Hempstead, NY - The Hofstra Men's Lacrosse team will return to action this Saturday, April 28 when they travel to State College, Pennsylvania for a critical CAA encounter with the 15th-ranked Nittany Lions of Penn State at Jeffrey Field. Game time is noon.
The Pride (6-7, 2-3) will need a win at Penn State and some help from Saint Joseph's University this Saturday to qualify for the fourth and final berth in the 2012 Colonial Athletic Association Championship Tournament that begins on Wednesday, May 2. Second-ranked Massachusetts (12-0, 5-0) will be the top seed with Penn State (8-5, 4-1) the second seed and Drexel (6-7, 4-2) the third seed in the CAA Championship. Hofstra is currently tied with Towson (7-6, 2-3) for fourth place in the CAA standings but the Tigers hold the tie-breaker advantage over the Pride, on their 10-9 double-overtime win on March 31, should the two teams wind up tied following Saturday's finales. While Towson needs only to win to gain the berth in the CAA Championship, Hofstra will need to win at Penn State and have Saint Joseph's (4-9, 0-5) win at home over Towson to avoid not making the CAA Tournament for only the second time since the format was instituted in 2003.
Hofstra is coming off their fifth one-goal loss of the season this past Saturday in a 14-13 loss to then-top-ranked UMass at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The Pride trailed by as many as five at 8-3 in the first half before mounting a third quarter rally to tie the game at 10 and then take an 11-10 lead right off the opening face-off of the fourth quarter on junior John Antoniades' goal. But the Minutemen came back with four unanswered goals to regain the lead at 14-11 with five minutes to play in regulation. But senior Mike DeNapoli scored his third goal of the game 50 seconds later and sophomore Lance Yapor brought the Pride back to within one at 14-13 with 45 seconds to play. But after winning the ensuing face-off and calling timeout, UMass checked the ball away and ran the clock down to the waning seconds before giving the ball back to Hofstra with too much field and not enough time.
The Pride, who average 9.46 goals per game and allow 8.77 per outing to their opponents, is led by junior midfielder Adrian Sorichetti (Whitby, ONT, Canada) with 24 goals and 14 assists for 38 points. Sorichetti sat out last Saturday's game against UMass with a stomach virus. Sophomore Lance Yapor (Glenview, IL), who tallied two goals and one assist against UMass, leads Hofstra with 25 goals and has added eight assists for 33 points. Senior Mike DeNapoli (Lynbrook, NY), who tallied three goals last Saturday, has 17 goals and eight assists, graduate-student Steve Serling (Rockville Centre, NY), who posted a goal and an assist against UMass, has 10 goals and seven assists as does freshman Tyler Begley (East Islip, NY). Junior John Antoniades (Hauppauge, NY), who tallied his second goal of the season last Saturday to give the Pride an 11-10 lead in the fourth quarter, has a team-high 74 ground balls and has won 133 of 244 face-offs for a .545 winning percentage. Senior goalie Andrew Gvozden (Millersville, MD) ranks 15th with an 8.53 goals against average and 21st with a .550 save percentage with a career-high 138 saves.
Saturday's game at Penn State is the 15th meeting between Hofstra and the Nittany Lions. The Pride lead the series, 9-5 including last year's 9-4 victory at James M. Shuart Stadium. But Penn State upset the Pride in 2010 in State College, 11-10 in overtime.
Penn State (8-5, 4-1) have wins over Michigan (16-9), Notre Dame (4-3), Ohio State (5-2), St. Joseph's (7-3), Villanova (13-8), Drexel (10-9), Towson (8-3) and Delaware (13-9). Their losses have come against North Carolina (14-10), Denver (14-6), Massachusetts (9-8), Lehigh (9-5) and Bucknell (9-6). The Nittany Lions enter Saturday's game on a four-game winning streak and having won five of their last six..
Penn State, which averages 8.54 goals per game and ranks 10th in the nation in defense allowing 7.77 per contest, is led by senior Jack Forster with 25 goals and 13 assists. Senior Matt Mackrides has added 25 goals and nine assists while sophomore Shane Sturgis has chipped in with 15 goals and nine assists. Junior midfielder Nick Dolik has tallied 13 goals and four assists while sophomore attackman Gavin Ahearn has added 10 goals and three assists. Junior Danny Henneghan has won 128 of 244 face-offs for a .525 winning percentage. Sophomore Austin Kaut, who ranks sixth in Division I in save percentage with a .592 mark and 142 saves, also ranks 10th in goals against average with a 7.61 mark.