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Hofstra women's soccer draws Providence in NCAA Tournament first round

Senior right back Krista Agostinello, from West Babylon,

Senior right back Krista Agostinello, from West Babylon, will be making her third appearance with Hofstra in the NCAA Division I women's soccer tournament. Credit: CAA/Tim Cowie

The experience from 2019 was so memorable for Krista Agostinello, even though it lasted just two rounds — against Loyola Chicago and eventual champ Stanford in the NCAA Division I women’s soccer tournament.

"That was a great moment, of course, for Hofstra, making it to Stanford," said Agostinello, the senior right back from West Babylon. "Obviously, winning the first round against Loyola Chicago, that feeling was amazing as well.

"But then making it to Stanford and getting to play on that field and being around that facility and atmosphere is obviously so cool because growing up you see that and all of a sudden you’re there actually experiencing it."

After failing to earn a tournament ticket in the spring, the Pride are back to chase more memorable moments in the NCAAs for the fourth time in five seasons via the Colonial Athletic Association’s automatic bid. Monday’s selection show revealed a first-round home game for Hofstra on Saturday at 1 p.m. against Providence, an at-large Big East team that made it for the first time in 28 years.

"I’m ecstatic that we’re home," coach Simon Riddiough said. "I think it shows you the respect the NCAA has given us."

If the 16-3-1 Pride beat the 10-6-3 Friars in a matchup of unseeded teams in their bracket, they get the winner of second-seeded, 21-time champ North Carolina vs. South Carolina. Hofstra hasn’t been past the second round in eight previous trips.

"We keep saying, ‘We’ve only made it to the second round,’ " Agostinello said. "And now we’re like, ‘All right, let’s go third, fourth. Let’s keep going.’ "

After losing in a CAA semifinal last season, the Pride were out for redemption this season.

"I think we’ve got a veteran team who care about winning," Riddiough said.

Lucy Shepherd, a fifth-year forward from England, scored two of Hofstra’s three goals and assisted on the third across the two wins it took to claim the program’s seventh CAA tournament championship.

"It was amazing just to come back for a fifth year and right the wrongs from last [season’s] semifinal," she said.

Now Shepherd and the Pride want more.

"It’s great to dream," Shepherd said. " . . . I think [with] the talent on this team and the lineup that we’ve got and the bracket, I think we have the ability to go as far as the third round and maybe even further."

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