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Hofstra men’s lacrosse gets must win in quest to reach CAA tourney

Hofstra's Josh Byrne (42) carries the ball towards

Hofstra's Josh Byrne (42) carries the ball towards the net and try to get around Delaware's Tim Lyons (14) in the fourth quarter during the game between Hofstra and Delaware on Saturday, April 9, 2016 at Hofstra University. Credit: Bob Sorensen

Hofstra added another brick to its Victory Walk Saturday, and this one was a special one.

Following tradition, the men’s lacrosse team entered Shuart Stadium through a red-brick path, which commemorates each program win dating to 1949.

In a game that honored the 1971 team as the first Hofstra side that participated in the NCAA Tournament as a Division I team, the Pride recorded a much-needed 13-7 Colonial Athletic Association victory over Delaware.

“Hopefully, we get a little bit of a vibe from those bricks as we head out onto the field,” coach Seth Tierney said. “It’s great to see our alums back and they can go through that Victory Walk and see who they were successful against.”

That 1971 team, which hosted the tournament, was successful enough to place 12 bricks on the walk.

“Last year everyone on the team got an alumnus to learn more about how meaningful this program is, and the history and tradition,” said Brendan Kavanagh, one of five players with two goals. “It was pretty cool to see them out there before the game.”

Before this year’s team can think of the NCAAs, Hofstra must reach the CAA tournament.

After losing its conference opener to Fairfield last week, Hofstra (7-4, 1-1) needed a victory Saturday or face the prospect of must-win situations in its final three conference games, two on the road, to earn one of the fourth berths.

“It was pretty big,” said Josh Byrne, who had two goals and four assists. “No matter what, we felt we had our backs against the wall. Just everything into it. We did a really good job, not really caring who scored.”

Hofstra took control late in the first quarter, grabbing a 3-0 lead over a 2:34 span behind goals by Trevor Kupecky (one goal total), Brian von Bargen (two) and Korey Hendrickson (two) in the rain and cold.

“The weather, the zone did not make for an exciting game, but more of a chess match,” Tierney said. “It’s important to get off to an early lead because it’s hard to come back when it’s wet and cold.”

In the second quarter, after Hendrickson’s second goal, Connor Frisina moved the Blue Hens (4-8, 1-1) within 4-1 with 9:08 remaining in the half. But Hofstra kept the ball in the opposing zone for more than seven minutes as Kris Clarke won his first nine faceoffs and the defense forced turnovers before Delaware could get past midfield.

The Pride tallied four more times to take an 8-1 advantage with 1:37 left in the half behind Sam Llinares’ two goals and one apiece by Kavanagh and Byrne.

“Re-defend is hard to do,” Tierney said. “You get a stop and then you turn it over and you got to defend again. It’s a tough turnover. We started to tire them down a little bit.”

Zachary Franco contributed two goals for Hofstra.

Delaware’s Andrew Romagnoli and Dean DiSimone scored two goals apiece. Steve DeLargy and Paul Major added one each.

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