There were plenty of collisions in pursuit of loose balls and a lot of traffic around goalkeeper Jack Concannon. So it seemed that Hofstra coach Seth Tierney’s characterization of Saturday’s game against defending national champion North Carolina as “a turnpike effort” was entirely appropriate.
For the second year in a row, the Pride went down to Tobacco Road and smoked the Tar Heels. Dylan Alderman scored three goals with three assists, Josh Byrne added three goals and two assists and Concannon made 13 saves as Hofstra held off North Carolina, 11-9, at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill, N.C.
“We call it a turnpike effort. A bunch of guys from a school on Hempstead Turnpike playing a tough brand of lacrosse,” Tierney said after his team improved to 5-0. “To win today was unbelievable. This was an ACC team with ACC athletes and it was on the road. These were big, strong, fast guys. We had to work a lot harder than we have to against some other teams.”
The Pride had beaten Monmouth, Princeton, NJIT and Georgetown. Those victories won’t get you noticed, nationally. But knock off the nation’s No. 5 team this season and a team that recovered from a 10-5 loss to Hofstra last March to win a surprising national title and you can expect to move up significantly in this week’s polls.
“We just wanted to play our game and not think about playing the defending national champs,” said Alderman. “We want to do what needs to be done. It means not playing smooth all the time and not always following the game plans. A win like this gives us confidence and shows everyone on the team what we can do.”
What the Pride did was hang on in a tight contest that featured seven ties and four lead changes. After the Tar Heels grabbed an 8-7 lead on Luke Goldstock’s second goal of the game with 5:11 left in the third, Brendan Kavanagh and Alex Moser scored to put Hofstra on top 9-8 entering the fourth. Moser and Byrne scored early in the fourth for an 11-8 lead before Michael Tagliaferri scored for North Carolina with 11:46 left. Concannon then made saves on three consecutive possessions allowing Hofstra to survive.
“Jack came up big. He made the saves he was supposed to make and he stole a couple as well,” Tierney said. “Carolina can shoot it from anywhere.”
Tierney said the game’s biggest sequence came when the Tar Heels, trailing 11-9, had a two-man advantage. “If they score there and then win the faceoff to get the ball back, maybe they go on a run. But Michael Diener picked off a skip pass and we killed off the penalty.”
The Turnpike Team knows how to navigate passing lanes.