Forget the stall warnings that punctuated the last few Hofstra possessions. Saturday night's CAA contest was one huge storm warning, as steady, torrential rain and gusty winds made it a slippery proposition for host Hofstra and Towson. Or not.
"We love the rain. We call it Dutch rain," Hofstra attack Torin Varn said, offering a nod to the Pride's former nickname, Flying Dutchmen. "We just embrace it."
Dodging defenders as easily as raindrops, the Pride defeated Towson, 9-7, to improve to 3-0 in CAA play and guarantee itself a spot in the conference postseason tournament.
"It's nice not to have backs against the wall in the last game of the season," said Varn, who scored both of his goals in the second half and added an assist as Hofstra improved to 6-3 overall. The Tigers fell to 7-3, 1-1.
Korey Hendrickson (Farmingdale) scored two goals in the third quarter and Sam Llinares (Hauppauge) scored twice in the first half for Hofstra, which moved the ball well despite the wet conditions that made sticks heavy and the ball skip. "I don't know why lacrosse players love the rain, but we do," Hendrickson said. Of his goals, which came on similar maneuvers, he said, "We were just trying to run wing plays and I was able to get under my man both times."
Hofstra coach Seth Tierney gave his team some explicit pregame instructions regarding the weather. "Shorten our passes. Don't look for skip passes," Tierney said. "This was a huge conference win in tough conditions."
It was 4-4 at halftime but Hofstra had a slick third quarter, outscoring Towson 3-1 on two goals by Hendrickson and another by Varn. A 3-0 run was capped by Lance Yapor's unassisted tally on a dodge from behind the cage five minutes into the fourth quarter that provided an 8-5 lead.
Joe Seider (four goals) and Max Siskind scored to bring Towson within 8-7 with 7:07 left. But Varn converted a rebound of a shot by Mike Malave (Comsewogue), drilling a low shot into the back of the net.
Tierney looked past his offense for some key factors. He noted an interception by Chris Romano (Massapequa) with 1:05 left that ended a critical Towson possession. Kris Clarke (Chaminade) won the faceoff battle 13-6, going 8-for-10 in the second half. Hofstra had five more ground balls than Towson (37-32) as they managed to stay afloat on the Shuart Stadium turf. Said Tierney, "That tells the story."
Rain wasn't the main event after all.