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Hofstra women’s lacrosse rallies past Drexel to stay in hunt for CAA playoffs

Mattera and Parrella each score four goals and the Pride goes on a 10-1 run during the victory.

Hofstra's Alexa Mattera (23) makes a move around

Hofstra's Alexa Mattera (23) makes a move around Fairfield's Kathleen Hulseman (14) in the second half during the NCAA Division I Women's Lacrosse game between Hofstra and Fairfield on Saturday Feb. 24, 2018 at Hofstra University. Photo Credit: Bob Sorensen

Hofstra was forced to stare down a six-goal deficit in a virtual elimination game Sunday afternoon. The Pride didn’t blink.

Despite conceding seven of the game’s first eight goals, Hofstra roared back to top Drexel, 13-11, in a pivotal Colonial Athletic Association women’s lacrosse game at Shuart Stadium.

Alexa Mattera and Alyssa Parrella scored four goals apiece for the Pride, which went on a 10-1 run from the 8:16 mark in the first half to the 14:08 mark in the second to go ahead 11-8.

Mattera tied the game at 8 with 21:02 left before Katie Whelan scored about two minutes later to put Hofstra ahead for good.

A loss would have all but ended Hofstra’s chances of earning a berth in the four-team CAA Tournament, though they still might need to upset either Towson or James Madison in their remaining two conference games to make it.

“We’re playing for our lives right now,” Hofstra coach Shannon Smith said. “We were backed into a corner and our kids came out fighting. We live to fight another day and we’re going to have to continue to do that.”

Hofstra (8-6, 2-2) suffered a tough loss to Delaware Friday night that was defined by bad turnovers and poor finishing. That continued early Sunday as Drexel took a 7-1 lead with 9:18 left in the first half. Mattera scored her second goal of the game a minute later and consecutive goals from Drew Shapiro cut Drexel’s lead to 7-4. The Dragons (3-10, 0-3) responded with a goal with 1:10 left and took an 8-4 lead into halftime, but the second half belonged to Hofstra.

The Pride outshot Drexel 19-13 in the second half, and Maddie Fields (seven saves) stopped four of the seven shots on goal she faced in the half. Parrella’s move back into the draw control circle also helped, as the sophomore won a game-high five draw controls.

“You start to feed off each other’s success,” Parrella said of the comeback. “You start on the draw — we started winning them — and then you feed off of goals from other players. Your defense is playing just as strong, you cause turnovers, Maddie’s making big saves and you just feed off all of that.”

“We realized at halftime that we could still win,” Mattera said. “Having the mindset that we want to win this game more than they do really helped us.”

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