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Unranked Drexel shocks Hofstra with second-half comeback

Hofstra's Ryan Tierney (43) moves the ball and

Hofstra's Ryan Tierney (43) moves the ball and scores in the first quarter while being covered by Drexel's Jake Gennosa (43) during the NCAA Division l men's lacrosse game on Saturday, April 15, 2017, at Hofstra University. Credit: Bob Sorensen

Even as Hofstra’s lead slowly began slipping away Saturday night, the thought of unranked Drexel upsetting the No. 2/3-ranked Pride on the road never seemed probable.

But probability is worth only so much in men’s lacrosse.

After a climb out of a seven-goal halftime deficit, Drexel stunned Hofstra, 13-12, in front of 3,041 at James M. Shuart Stadium. The loss ended the Pride’s fifth-longest winning streak in program history at 10 games.

“This is the first time they’re not dancing around in the locker room,” Hofstra coach Seth Tierney said. “What we had — and still have — but what we had was very special. Sometimes you need to realize how special it is.”

The Pride led 9-2 at halftime and 11-6 after three quarters. But the Dragons continued to breathe down Hofstra’s neck and, somehow, cut the gap to 11-10 on Reid Bowering’s man-up goal with 4:11 remaining.

The Pride’s Ryan Tierney scored his career-high fifth goal for a 12-10 lead with 2:30 left, but Drexel answered with three man-up goals in the final two minutes — two by Robert Frazee and the winner by Jacob O’Donnell with 1:02 remaining.

The Dragons scored on four of six man-up opportunities.

“We talked about what type of man-up team they are and we have to be smart,” Tierney said. “That can’t happen.”

For Hofstra, Jimmy Yanes had three goals and two assists and Brendan Kavanagh scored twice in the second half.

Just as Drexel dominated the second half, the Pride had few problems in the first.

Yanes and Tierney took control offensively after reigning CAA player of the week Josh Byrne opened the scoring and the Hofstra defense was stout, forcing five turnovers and not allowing Drexel (5-6, 2-1) to clear the ball three times.

By halftime, Yanes had a hat trick and Tierney one-upped him to help Hofstra to that 9-2 lead.

Yanes beat a defender from behind the net and dumped a shot inside the right post with 4:24 left for his second goal, giving Hofstra a 4-0 lead it would hold through the end of the first quarter.

Tierney’s two most impressive finishes happened in the final three minutes of the first half. He scored his third goal coming across the middle, seeing a small opening and firing from about 20 yards out as he fell to the turf. Then he scooped up a ball from his ankle and whipped a shot into the net in one motion for the final goal of the half.

With the loss, Hofstra’s best-ever ranking in the Division I weekly polls is sure to drop. The Pride entered the game ranked No. 2 in the Nike/USILA Coaches poll and the Cascade-Maverik Media poll, and No. 3 in Nike/US Lacrosse poll.

“We’ll take a day or two, regroup,” Tierney said. “There’s a very good team upstairs in that locker room, and we’ve got a lot of lacrosse to play.”

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