After an enduring a frustrating start to the season in which his team lost four of its five opening games by a total of six goals, Hofstra men's lacrosse coach Seth Tierney had the best tonic for the Pride. He told his team to forget about it.
In Tierney's mind, the Pride's 15-4 victory over Providence College at Shuart Stadium Saturday was the first win of a new season. When asked about the rough start, Tierney deadpanned, "I don't know what you're talking about. We're 1-0. So I'm not sure what other games you're speaking of. But we went through a tough time. It was good to see them smile. It's been a bit of trying run."
Tierney's troops certainly had plenty to smile about. Junior attack Sam Llinares equaled a career-best of eight points (four goals and four assists). Mike Malave, Brier Davis and Korey Hendrickson added two goals apiece.
"I guess how we started the season, we had similar opportunities in very close games and we came up short," Llinares said.
Llinares was denied by goalie Peter Badgley and the metalwork on an attempt in the first quarter before playing a key role in the second. After Hendrickson had given Hofstra (2-4) a 3-2 lead :52 into the period, Llinares struck twice within a 63-second span to extend the margin to a 5-2 with 9:22 remaining.
Llinares said he forgot about those earlier close encounters "as soon as possible. It's always like the next play. I don't like to dwell in the past, especially missed opportunities."
Hofstra made the most of its opportunities in the third period, extending a 6-2 halftime lead to 14-3. The Pride struck four times within 1:57 as Hendrickson (12:00), Malave (11:18), Davis (11:04) and Llinares (10:03) found the net.
"Finally after hitting that rock, it started to crack," Tierney said.
A big part of the win was sophomore faceoff specialist Kris Clarke's outstanding performance, winning 19 of 22 of his attempts (86 percent). Clarke praised his wing players -- John Puckhaber (five), Ryan Rielly (four) and Steve Romano (three) for winning ground balls.
"When you have a faceoff guy who's winning the ball every time [it] just instills so much confidence in your offense," Malave said. "In your defense, too."
Goalie Chris Selva made eight saves. Dylan Alderman, Brendan Kavanagh, Mitch Kingsley, Tyler Begley and Tim Nowak scored a goal apiece for Hofstra.
The Pride next hosts St. John's (2-5) on Tuesday.
"They're a team that is probably looking in the mirror in their previous season," Tierney said. "They've lost some tough games. We haven't been very successful against them the last two years."