Even now, more than 10 months later, Hofstra goalie Jack Concannon can’t get the image out of his mind. The confusion over whether or not the clock had run out in regulation; the rain-slicked field that caused a desperation, 35-yard shot by Dan Muller of UMass to skid past him; the shock of a last-second defeat in the CAA semifinals that abruptly ended a lacrosse season that had been filled with so much promise.
“It was a heartbreaking end for all of us, especially myself,” said Concannon, a second-team All-American last season and a first-team preseason choice for 2018. “That’s not something you ever think is going to happen to you. It’s still something I think about every day, but not negatively. I turned it into motivation to push me every day.”
Having Concannon between the pipes is one reason Hofstra is optimistic about the 2018 season and its chances to finally win the CAA Tournament and earn its first NCAA bid since 2011. “He could be the country’s leading goalie,” Pride coach Seth Tierney said. “He’s a fabulous goaltender and a tremendous leader.”
Concannon, who was among the nation’s leaders in goals-against average (8.8) and save percentage (57.1), said he’s planning to get involved more in the transition game after saves. He is a tri-captain, along with defenseman Brett Osman (25 ground balls) and midfielder Dylan Alderman (18 goals, 18 assists). The Pride returns 31 players, including 16 seniors and eight starters, from a team that won its first 10 games, reached No. 2 in the national rankings, and finished 11-3.
In preseason polls, the Pride is ranked as high as 14th by US Lacrosse. The team is strongly motivated to erase the painful memory of last year’s premature ending, and is also well aware that its home turf, Shuart Stadium, once again is hosting an NCAA Tournament quarterfinal and the Pride definitely would play there if its makes the tournament and wind a first-round game.
“To have a playoff home game is something you dream about. It doesn’t happen very often,” Tierney said.
“I see that as a reachable goal for us,” Concannon said. “We all have probably thought about it and dreamed about playing an NCAA Tournament game here.”
To do that, Hofstra must replace the production of graduated third-team All-American attack Josh Byrne (41 goals, 25 assists). Tierney’s son, Ryan, who was impressive last year as a freshman (31 goals, 16 assists, 23 ground balls) will have an even greater role in the offense. So will returning starter Jimmy Yanes (20 goals, five assists). Canadian freshman Dylan McIntosh figures to be the third member of the top attack unit.
Midfield is a definite offensive strength, with returnees Alderman, Brendan Kavanagh (23 goals, six assists) and Alex Moeser (16 goals, eight assists). Dale Stasco provides depth. Among the top defensive middies are Griffin Barnathan and Brenden Lynch at short stick and Eric Wenz, Michael Altmann and Liam Blohm at long stick. Kyle Gallagher is the top faceoff specialist.
On defense, Osman is joined by returning starter Tanner Griffin (28 ground balls). The third starting spot is up for grabs with John Puckhaber and Brian Philbin in the mix.
“Having a large senior class cranks up the motivation to succeed even more,” Concannon said. “That trickles down to the younger guys who know how bad we want it. It’s our last shot.”
And a chance to erase the memory of another last shot.
all times p.m.
Feb. 17 at Ohio State noon
Feb. 24 Villanova noon
Feb. 27 at Stony Brook 7
March 3 Georgetown 1
March 10 North Carolina 12
March 13 Monmouth 7
March 17 at Providence 1
March 20 Lehigh 7
March 24 at St. John’s 1
March 31 Towson 1
April 7 Fairfield 7
April 14 Delaware 1
April 21 at Drexel 2
April 27 at UMass 5