Even through the rain drops, Hofstra goalie Jack Concannon had little trouble seeing the ball. After all, he didn’t have to look far — it usually was in his stick. Concannon, a Lindenhurst native, turned in a brilliant, 19-save performance in Hofstra’s 11-10 men’s lacrosse win over Providence at Shuart Stadium Saturday afternoon.
For a while this week, it wasn’t a certainty that Concannon would get on the field for the game. He was one of 17 players affected by a norovirus acquired while the team was in North Carolina last weekend, coach Seth Tierney said.
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“We could barely practice at times,” Tierney said. “We just got back guys this morning to go after it . . . In my coaching history, I’ve never had no goalies at practice and, for two days this week, we had no goalies at practice. For [Concannon] to step up and make 19 saves, 11 in the second half, we don’t win without that.”
Josh Byrne led the Pride with four goals and an assist. Jimmy Yanes added three goals and Brendan Kavanagh had two. Hofstra is 6-0 for the first time since 1973.
Concannon’s biggest save was his last, stopping a shot from Wantagh native and Chaminade graduate Brendan Kearns with seven seconds left to preserve Hofstra’s perfect season and prevent a demoralizing loss.
“Kearns is a kid I went against in high school,” said Concannon, who graduated from St. Anthony’s. “So, that’s a kid I’ve been playing against for a while now. I watched a lot of film on him and saw some shots throughout the game from him. I kind of just read it from the pass, followed his stick, and followed through the ball.”
After the Pride dominated the scoreboard in the first three quarters, including playing the Friars (4-3) to a scoreless draw in the second, Providence outscored Hofstra 5-0 in the fourth to pull to within one goal.
But Concannon’s final save put a stop to the comeback and was a fitting end to a trying week.
“When you’re missing 17 at practice, it doesn’t look like a lacrosse team anymore,” Tierney said. “. . . It took every ounce of effort, and we needed that 19th save.”
Hofstra built a quick 3-0 first quarter lead, with Byrne coming out firing. The senior scored three goals in the first four minutes. After Providence answered with three goals of their own, the Pride reeled off three more to double up the lead before the end of the opening period.
Yanes scored three acrobatic goals in the third quarter to give the Pride temporary breathing room. His goal with 2:54 left put Hofstra ahead, 9-5. Byrne’s goal with 54 seconds left in the third gave Hofstra an 11-5 lead.