Even though the home team was defeated, Saturday still was a winning day for college lacrosse on Long Island. Hofstra hosted a Division I doubleheader that Pride coach Seth Tierney compared to an NCAA Tournament quarterfinal in May.
No. 8 Hofstra lost to Georgetown, 11-6. In the second game, former Hofstra coach John Danowski had his homecoming spoiled as No. 4 Duke lost to No. 12 Harvard, 14-9.
Garden City’s Devin Dwyer had four goals and two assists for Harvard (4-0). Duke (3-2) received three goals apiece from Ward Melville graduate Jack Bruckner and Justin Guterding, a resident of Garden City.
Georgetown, which entered the game as perhaps the best 0-3 team in the country, was led by three goals from freshman attack Daniel Bucaro, also from Ward Melville. The Hoyas are coached by Kevin Warne, a former Hofstra player who lived in Setauket.
What was set aside in the creation of this doubleheader was the notion that Hofstra would lose potential recruits to the more well-known schools.
“Kids are going to say, ‘I want to come to Hofstra,’ ’’ Tierney said. “The excitement of Long Island is you’ve got to bring the teams here to play. Long Island is considered a hotbed and we should be playing great college lacrosse games here.’’
Danowski agreed, saying Friday, “In our sport now, the supply is greater than the demand for sure. There’s plenty of students. Hofstra is the right place for them or Harvard is the right place. I think for marketing, it makes a lot of sense to get people excited about our sport. Get them talking lacrosse.’’
Hofstra had won its first three games, including victories over quality opponents North Carolina and Princeton. “We didn’t deserve to win today,’’ Tierney said. “We didn’t pay attention to detail [like] we’ve done in the first three games. Credit Georgetown. We know it was going to be a tall task knowing that they were 0-3 and we were 3-0. There’s an anger at 0-3 and there’s a comfort level at 3-0 unless it’s an unbelievably special situation.”
Hofstra’s Brian von Bargen, who scored two goals, said, “It’s Division I lacrosse. Anybody can beat anybody. You’ve just got to show up and play. We didn’t pay attention to little things and it didn’t go our way. From the start, our energy, we just didn’t have it.’’
Consecutive goals by Joe Bucci got Georgetown off to a 2-0 lead, but Hofstra came back with four straight, two by von Bargen, and the momentum seemed to have shifted.
“I felt we were going to come back anyway,’’ Bucaro said. “I just knew it.’’ Georgetown scored five straight for a 7-4 lead with 10:36 remaining in the third quarter.
Bucaro estimated he had 20 to 25 family and friends at the game. His coach also was happy to be back at his old school. “I love this place,” Warne said. “It’s been really good to me.’’
Danowski, who coached at Hofstra from 1986 to 2006, felt the same way. Duke hired him to help the program recover after it was rocked by what turned out to be false allegations of rape against three players.
Danowski has won three national titles at Duke, but Hofstra and Long Island remain important to him.
“The years are incredibly special to me, the men that I coached, the fun that we had, the players who came and went,’’ he said. “I thought about the bond, the friendships made through lacrosse. They’re still friends now. Their children are going to grow up being friends. They love Hofstra. That’s something you can never lose, and that’s what was important.’’
Notes & quotes: Long Islanders also had a prominent role in a Division III game at Shuart Stadium as Oneonta beat Eastern Connecticut, 14-8. Snowy conditions upstate moved the game to Hempstead. Nathan Doody keyed the win with four goals and an assist. Connor Coyle of Harborfields had three goals. Sachem East graduates Alex Solomito (three goals, one assist) and Robert Neubert (three assists) helped Oneonta win its season opener. Eastern Connecticut is 1-1.