Hofstra women set their sights on NCAA lacrosse tournament

Hofstra's Brittain Altomare practices with the women's lacrosse

Hofstra's Brittain Altomare practices with the women's lacrosse team at Shuart Stadium Feb 7, 2014. (Credit: James Escher)

The next step for Hofstra women's lacrosse could be the NCAA Tournament. Coached by Shannon Smith, who built an All-American career by owning the postseason, the Pride (11-8 last season) fell one victory short of qualifying for the NCAA's.

"Getting to the championship game last year was great," junior defender April Iannetta said, "but we know that we can do better than we did last year and that's what our goal is. We're just worried about doing our best throughout the whole season and then getting to the ultimate goal of getting that championship win."

Smith, now in her second season, quickly transformed the program into a tournament contender. "When Shannon came in the biggest thing she brought was kind of like a fresh look on the game of lacrosse and I think that showed the way we played last year," junior attacker Brittain Altomare said. "It showed at the end of the season when we went to the CAA championship. Unfortunately, we weren't able to win there in May. We're working this year on doing newer and better things."

Smith said, "We had a tremendous year last year and I think a lot of the young players got a taste of what it felt like to win, got a taste of what it felt like to be in the CAA championship and they're all just looking forward to the season. I think we turned people's heads last year. It's our goal to keep turning their heads. But we have to focus on ourselves . . . We're going to get better and we're going to work hard. The kids have really accepted the challenge that we're throwing their way. They really want to win the conference."

Altomare and Iannetta are two of the biggest reasons Hofstra can look toward the postseason. Altomare led the team with 69 points, scoring 34 goals and adding 35 assists. Ianetta had 53 draw controls, 50 ground balls and 40 caused turnovers. She added 12 goals and six assists. Attacker Julia Riemer (25 goals) and midfielder Becky Conto (16) also return. Defensively, goalie Kelsey Gregerson and defender Shelby Milne are back. Milne made the all-rookie team after scooping 30 ground balls and causing 23 turnovers. Smith is also looking to attacker Emily Considine, returning from a torn ACL, as well as midfielder Emily von Holland and defender Emily Corzell, two fifth-year seniors. Sophomore Lindsey Alfano will help on defense.

"Things that I told people last year came true," Smith said. "We won, we were going to get where we needed to be but unfortunately we feel we fell a little bit short . . . We told them we were going to get them to that championship. And that's where Hofstra's future is going. Losing is not going to be an expectation. Winning is going to be an expectation."

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