The Hofstra women, who aspire to reach the NCAA Division I lacrosse tournament, were reminded last night how far they have to go to become an elite team. They believe they have the talent but might lack the confidence against the top teams in the country.
The Pride (2-2) acquitted itself well early on, hanging with third-ranked Maryland in the first half before the visitors pulled away to a 14-3 win at James M. Shuart Stadium.
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It's easy to be intimidated by the Terps (5-0), whose average margin has been 10 goals behind the likes of dynamic sophomore Taylor Cummings (three goals, four assists).
"We have every capability to play like a team like Maryland,'' attack Brittain Altomare said. "We see No. 2, No. 3 in the nation, that's intimidating to a team. It just has an effect on confidence levels.''
After Cummings scored her first goal, Altomare tied it at 17:56. A tight defense and superb goaltending by Kelsey Gregerson (10 saves) kept the score to 4-1 at the half.
"The way we played in the first half was absolutely unbelievable,'' Gregerson said, "and if we keep that up every half of every game, we can play with anyone.''
Cummings turned playmaker in the second half, recording three assists as Maryland broke away with four consecutive goals in the opening 6:16 as Kelly McPartland (hat trick) tallied twice.
The double-digit loss won't discourage coach Shannon Smith from scheduling high-caliber competition.
"We're definitely more battle tested,'' she said. "We've got to figure we can play with these teams, and the kids in the locker room need to start believing in it because their coaching staff believes in it. This is the direction that Hofstra's women's lacrosse program is going in.''