Hofstra’s home finale ended in heartbreaking fashion Saturday afternoon as the Pride fell, 13-12, to Drexel at Shuart Stadium, unable to stage a late-game rally. Joey Elarde made it a one-goal game with 4:19 left, but it was too little too late for the Pride, who were outscored 5-1 in the fourth quarter.
Hofstra, which was eliminated from the CAA Tournament with the loss, was led by Ryan Tierney, who had five goals and three assists. Elarde added three goals and one assist.
“This one hurts,” Hofstra coach Seth Tierney said. “There was a lot on the line for this one, everybody knew. It wasn’t for lack of effort or heart, they played their tails off, but this is a tough one.”
Hofstra (4-9, 1-3 CAA) held a three-goal lead late in the third quarter, but with 16 seconds left in the frame, the Pride were whistled for slashing. The call gave Drexel a man-up opportunity to open the fourth and the Dragons (6-6, 2-2) took advantage, on Matt Varian’s goal with 14:46 to play.
Varian, a Long Beach grad, continued to be the difference-maker down the stretch for Drexel. The junior attack, playing in front of a small contingent of fans in his first collegiate game at Hofstra, found the back of the net twice more in the quarter, including a man-up goal with 12:51 to play, tying the score at 11.
“I thought I was getting good chances in the beginning and they weren’t going, but that changed in the fourth and they started falling,” Varian said. “It gets easier after the first one, definitely.”
Varian wasn’t just a scoring threat. He found Reid Bowering with 8:14 left, putting Drexel up 12-11 and giving the Dragons a lead they’d never surrender.
“I got a short stick and I always like that matchup because I know I’m going to dodge,” Varian said. “I was able to beat my guy, got the read, and if [Bowering] has any space, I know he’s going to catch and finish.”
Bowering followed up with an unassisted goal, making it 13-11 with 4:57 to play.
Elarde’s goal, 38 seconds later, gave Hofstra some late hope, but the Pride struggled to find their offensive rhythm in the waning minutes and were whistled for an offside with seconds left on the clock, squandering a chance to possibly tie the game.
Drexel also held the edge on man-up opportunities, going 7-for-9, while Hofstra went 2-for-8, a lopsided stat Ryan Tierney said helped swing momentum.
“They were capitalizing on [man-up] opportunities all year and we fed them,” Ryan Tierney said. “That’s the one thing we did a lot today and it’s our fault.”
Hofstra wraps up the season on the road on Friday, taking on Fairfield at 7 p.m.