January 8, 2013

#LMranks: No. 19 Hofstra Pride (Men)

Cody Solaja is one of several defensive starters back, but Hofstra has a big question mark in goal.
© Hofstra Athletics

by Corey McLaughlin | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter | Team Page/Schedule

Lacrosse Magazine is counting down its preseason rankings throughout the month of January exclusively on LaxMagazine.com.

Today continues a look at our NCAA Division I Top 20 rankings. For more, visit LaxMagazine.com/LMranks. Follow @LacrosseMag on Twitter and Tweet using the hashtag #LMranks. The countdown will resume Wednesday with profiles of the 18th-ranked teams in NCAA Division I men and women.

Power Ratings

Offense: 3*
Defense: 4
Goalkeeping: 2
Faceoffs: 3
*Out of 5

Top Returner

M Adrian Sorichetti (Sr.)
The big Canadian — 6-foot, 200 pounds — led the Pride in scoring last year with 24 goals and 14 assists. The lefty has great outside shooting ability and put 61 percent of the shots he took on goal. He scored a career-high seven goals in a 14-10 win over St. John's last year, the most by a Hofstra player since 2003 and three shy of a school record.

X-Factor

FO John Antonaides (Sr.)
Hofstra's co-captain will begin his fourth season as the Pride's faceoff man, ranking among the nation's statistical leaders throughout his career. In 2011, he won 64 percent, good for fifth nationally, but last year his percentage dropped to 54 percent (22nd nationally).

What's New?

Goaltending. Andrew Gvozden, who started 49 games over the previous four seasons, has graduated. The door is open for a new netminder. It's not the seven-player logjam Syracuse had at the position entering 2012 as they tried to replace John Galloway, but it's close. Hofstra has five goalies, but only one of them saw any time in a Hofstra uniform last year, and that's sophomore Chris Selva, who played just more than three minutes. Ryan Brant is a senior transfer from Ohio State. Jason Rosenzweig played at Towson in 2010, transferred to Miami (Fla.) and played on the club team there, before landing at Hofstra. Eddie Collins is a sophomore who last year helped Nassau CC to the JuCo national title game. The Long Beach (N.Y) native made 19 saves in a 15-6 losing effort to Onondaga CC.

What's Not?

Defense. Aside from the goaltending position, Hofstra returns most of its backline. Fifth-year senior close defensemen Mark Mullen and Michael Hamilton are back, as is senior Cody Solaja. Redshirt junior long-stick midfielder Corey Caputo started nine games and sophomore Ryan Reilly, who had 34 ground balls in 2012, also returns. The Pride's two defensive midfielders (Steve Romano and John Reicherter) are back as well. Hofstra allowed 8.79 goals per game as a team, an average that ranked 13th in the nation.

#LMranks MD1 Preseason Countdown

Monday: No. 20 Bryant
Today: No. 19 Hofstra
Wednesday: No. 18
Thursday: No. 17
Friday: No. 16

More: Countdown schedule | WD1 | MD2 | WD2 | MD3 | WD3 | JuCo | MCLA | WCLA

2012 Recap

Record: 6-8, 2-4 CAA

In a Nutshell: The Pride lost their final three games of the season and didn't qualify for the CAA tournament. Close games doomed them throughout the year. Hofstra's average margin of defeat was only 1.88 goals and the Pride lost six one-goal games, four in overtime. Hofstra could have benefitted from a more productive offense, as it managed 9.36 goals per game.

High Point: Without any truly signature wins to hang its hat on, Hofstra's most impressive feat was probably Sorichetti's seven-goal game and a March 20 home victory against St. John's, or a one-goal win at Harvard on March 3.

Low Point: With so many painfully close defeats, there are many low points to look at, but it's hard to ignore what happened to coach Seth Tierney's team when it hosted Towson on a Saturday night in late March. Towson scored seven unanswered goals in the fourth quarter and into the second overtime to beat Hofstra, 10-9. Hofstra had led 9-3 with 12:04 left in regulation.

2013 Preview

Best Case: The offense, which returns five of its top eight scorers, progresses as Sorichetti, Lance Yapor (35 points), Tyler Begley (32), Mike Malave (30) and Torin Varn (24) have another year to play together. Freshman Sam Llinares, who led Long Island's Suffolk County in scoring last spring at Hauppauge (N.Y.), also can carve out a role on attack. Most importantly, Hofstra finds a way to win close games, and an experienced defense holds strong in front of an uncertain goalie situation. Hofstra makes it through the tough CAA and is knocking on the door of the big dance come Selection Sunday.

Worst Case: Hofstra never finds a suitable replacement for Gvozden and the hole is too much for the rest of the team to overcome. Bad memories of close losses seep back into the Pride's consciousness. The CAA is a tough road to hoe, and UMass and Penn State don't look to be getting any worse.


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