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Becky Conto’s four goals lead Hofstra women's lacrosse over Central Connecticut State

Hofstra's Becky Conto (14) carries the ball while

Hofstra's Becky Conto (14) carries the ball while being covered by Central Connecticut State's Cameron Ruberti (1) in the first half during the the NCAA Division I Women's Lacrosse game between Hofstra and Central Connecticut State University on Saturday, March 25, 2017 at Hofstra University. Credit: Bob Sorensen

Hofstra coach Shannon Smith said last week that finishing shots would be a point of emphasis for the Pride going forward.

So far, so good.

The Pride defeated Central Connecticut State, 21-3, in a non-conference women’s lacrosse game Saturday afternoon at Shuart Stadium. Becky Conto scored four goals, Alyssa Parrella had two goals and five assists, and Drew Shapiro and Morgan Knox both had three goals for Hofstra.

“Hats off to the girls. It’s just them working hard and putting the extra work in,” Smith said. “We shoot a lot at practice. We probably shoot about 30 minutes a day [and] practice hitting certain corners and making different types of shots.”

Hofstra (5-3) scored on 61.8 percent of its 34 shots and almost 78 percent of its 27 shots on goal. While Central Connecticut (1-7) has struggled this season, goalkeeper Jackie Branthover came into the game ranked in the top-50 nationally in save percentage.

“We’ve been working extra hard on it ever since a couple of games ago when we didn’t shoot that well,” Smith said. “It’s something we’re going to continue.”

Hofstra failed to convert more than 35 percent of its shots into goals in its three consecutive games coming into the week, before posting a 50 percent shooting percentage in a 13-10 win at New Hampshire on Tuesday (the national average is around 43 percent).

Conto has been one of the catalysts for this improvement and now has eight goals on her last 12 shots. “I’m feeling good, my teammates are moving the ball well and I have to owe it up to (them),” she said.

The Pride combined their efficient shooting with an edge in shot volume and held Central Connecticut to 16 shots. Hofstra won 19 of 25 draw controls and Parrella had a game-high six.

“It’s all muscle memory, doing it over and over again, and I’m getting a lot of help off the circle,” Parrella said of her success on draw controls.

Maddie Fields had seven saves on eight shots and Lexi Lenaghan (two goals) and Alexa Mattera were among the Pride’s 11 goal scorers. Zoe Gomez also scored her first goal of the season and Samantha Torrico, Mary Kate Gerety, Tessa Sinatro and Kaitlyn Shanahan scored their first career goals.

Said Conto: “It was so exciting because everybody works just as hard as people on the field at practice, so the fact that they can go out there and convert is so exciting.”

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