Sam Llinares scored the first goal of the first game of his Hofstra lacrosse career. He got his first assist. He had a hat trick before the first half was up.
Quick start? You best believe it. Necessary? Absolutely.
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Led by Hauppauge's Llinares, who had four goals and one assist, and five goals from Torin Varn, the Pride held off a surging Sacred Heart, 14-9, in the season opener at Shuart Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Scoring the first goal of the game "was definitely a confidence booster," Llinares said. "It's just a lot of fun being out there with my teammates . . . the offense, everyone did their job and it just came down to executing and that's what we did. It was a great overall team win."
Hofstra led 10-3 at the break only to see the Pioneers chip away with a 3-1 third quarter and eventually draw to within 11-8 on Mike Mawdsley's scoring flick off Cody Marquis' pass into the crease with 12:55 left in the game.
East Northport's Ryan Rielly scored with 3:57 to play to snuff Sacred Heart's momentum.
"We knew they weren't just sitting around, putting on their bus clothes and preparing to go back," coach Seth Tierney said. "They weren't happy . . . They were formulating a way that they could come back. They beat us out in that third quarter, 3-1. Our goal is to win every quarter. We certainly did that in the first half and we didn't in the last two."
The Pride outscored Sacred Heart 5-1 in the second quarter, led by back-to-back goals by Llinares, the 2012 Newsday Suffolk Player of the Year, and converted three man-up attempts -- one by Lance Yapor and two by Varn. Hofstra was 5-for-8 with the extra man, with all but one of those in the first half.
Despite sometimes uneven play, there were plenty of bright spots for the Pride, including sophomore defensive midfielder John Reicherter's first career goal and promising play by Chris Selva, who made 12 saves in his first career start.
"I was happy to see how we came out of the locker room the first time and not thrilled how we came out of the locker room the second time," Tierney said. "We've gotta fix that. Talent returns and chemistry doesn't, so we have to rebuild chemistry and find out what works . . . But I'm certainly happy with the overall effort."
A quick start -- to the game, the season and a college career -- will do that.