Hofstra entered Saturday’s game against Towson knowing that even with a victory, it could not earn the top seed or be the host for next week’s Colonial Athletic Association Tournament because Fairfield had defeated Delaware on Friday night.
But that doesn’t mean the Pride merely was playing for pride. There was plenty on the line for both teams in the regular-season finale with No. 12 Towson edging Hofstra, 8-7, at Shuart Stadium on Mike Lynch’s goal with 4:31 remaining.
“You wouldn’t know that both teams were already in the CAA playoffs the way they played their hearts out,” Hofstra coach Seth Tierney said. “Just two teams digging, digging hard.”
The Tigers (12-2, 4-1 CAA) wound up earning the No. 1 seed and will host No. 4 Drexel on Thursday. The Pride (9-5, 3-2) is the No. 3 seed and will face No. 2 Fairfield, also Thursday at Towson, with the times for both games to be determined.
“We needed to make that one more play, that one more inch,” Tierney said. “There were times during the game that those opportunities presented themselves but we just didn’t take advantage.”
One of those opportunities came with 9:52 remaining in the fourth quarter when the Tigers committed their only penalty, giving Hofstra an extra man for 30 seconds, already leading 7-6 thanks to a five-goal third quarter. Midfielder Brian von Bargen, who scored two goals and added an assist, just missed adding to the lead.
“VB [von Bargen] hit the side of the net. He got a good shot late in the penalty, but Tyler [White] is a big kid in the goal,” Tierney said. “The shot was where VB wanted to put it — near side. It’s tough to put it on the far side of that big guy. That would’ve put us up 8-6. An inch to the right and that ball is in the goal.”
Von Bargen, one of six seniors to be honored before the game, said: “It’s really hard to look out there knowing that I’ll never wear my uniform out there again. It hurts. I just think a couple of plays didn’t go our way. A couple of ground balls, a couple of shots. We hit two or three pipes in the fourth and if they went in, who knows what the game would’ve been like?”
It was like a pitcher’s duel in the first half, which ended up tied at 2, thanks to Hofstra goalie Jack Concannon, who made six of his 13 saves in the first quarter.
“In the first half, it was a lot of really good defense by both teams and a couple of offenses that didn’t really want to make a mistake,” Tierney said. “Both teams opened it up in the third quarter.”
But Hofstra couldn’t close it out in the fourth.