Hofstra women's lacrosse coach Shannon Smith employed a rarely used strategy Sunday against Delaware -- and it essentially put the Pride into position to tie the score in the final moments before losing, 8-7, in a Colonial Athletic Association game at Shuart Stadium.
Trailing 7-5 with just under five minutes left, Smith pulled goalie Kelsey Gregerson and Delaware's Caitlin McCartney quickly took advantage and scored, making it 8-5 with 2:54 left. "At that point we're losing," Smith said, "so if we lose by five goals or one goal it doesn't matter. By pulling our goalie it allows us to have an extra defender. We're essentially playing eight versus seven."
It also put Hofstra in position to regain possession. Shelby Milne won the ensuing draw and Alexandra Mezzanotte scored for Hofstra, making it 8-6 with 2:10 left. Brittain Altomare controlled the next draw and April Iannetta quickly scored to make it 8-7 with 1:02 left.
Iannetta was fouled as she shot and by rule Hofstra was given the ball for its third straight possession. "April put her body on the line and was decked pretty hard," Smith said, "but was able to finish the shot which allows us to get the ball again from the center which was huge for us because we had a free position."
But Hofstra could not get off a shot as time expired.
"We knew we had a good chance to tie the game," Iannetta said. "It was just unfortunate that we couldn't get that last shot off but the effort was there and its not questioned by anybody on the team."
Hofstra was 0-for-7 on free position shots. For the season, it is just 15-for 53.
Hofstra (5-8, 0-2 CAA) received two goals from Jenn Ward. Lindsay McKinnon, Erika Neuman and Liz Anders also scored. Altomare had four assists, increasing her consecutive-game point total to 32 over two seasons.
Hofstra led 5-2 at the half, but then Casey Lyons broke through for Delaware (9-4, 2-1), scoring all three of her goals within 16 minutes. "We do go into the half a lot of times up by three or four," Altomare said, "and then we kind of let the other team chip away . . . That's something we have to work on is no more letting a team climb back if we're up three or four."
Hofstra, loser of six straight, has lost four games by one goal. The Pride made it to the championship game of the CAA Tournament last season but may have to win its three remaining conference games -- all on the road -- to be among the four teams in the playoffs.
"Lucky for us we still have three more games in our conference to turn it around for us," Smith said. "We'll get back to the drawing board this week."