Hofstra lacrosse takes on Princeton. (Feb. 26, 2011)

Hofstra lacrosse takes on Princeton. (Feb. 26, 2011) Credit: Joe Rogate

It was the third win of the season for Hofstra, but the first that actually felt like one.

After early victories over unranked opponents to open the men's lacrosse season, the Pride found little to celebrate. They squeaked past Colgate and had to come back against Sacred Heart. Those weren't exactly storm-the-field moments. In fact, they felt a lot like losses.

"It was pretty quiet," senior attackman Stephen Bentz said of the locker room atmosphere following those games. "Even though we got the wins, we felt we could have won better . . . This feels like a real, true win, the way we're supposed to play."

The 11-9 home win over No. 8 Princeton even had coach Seth Tierney "thrilled" for the first time all season. And as the final seconds ticked away with No. 7 Hofstra (3-0) running the clock out, the players charged onto the field to begin a party that carried over into the locker room and beyond.

"The guys were bouncing around, music was playing," Tierney said. "We had two wins prior to playing Princeton that we couldn't really celebrate. That's a little bit of a downer at times. Why are we playing? If we're playing to win and we're winning, then why are we not celebrating? We didn't play well enough."

Despite playing its first game of the season, Princeton started strong and appeared to be in control, jumping out to a 4-1 lead and taking a 5-2 advantage late in the first quarter. Two of those goals were scored by Princeton freshman Tom Schreiber, a product of East Meadow and St. Anthony's High School who scored on his first collegiate shot.

Had John Antoniades not won 8 of the 9 first quarter faceoffs for Hofstra, it might have been even more lopsided. Antoniades wound up winning 16 of the 22 faceoffs.

Tierney said he felt like it was his team playing with first-game jitters early on. But late in that first quarter, a Princeton miscue allowed Hofstra to climb back into the action.

While attempting a clear, Princeton goalie Tyler Fiorito brought the ball near midfield and attempted a pass that was turned over and scooped up by Steven DeNapoli. The midfielder quickly fired a pass to Bentz near the crease, where Fiorito was sprinting in an attempt to get back into position. Bentz slammed the ball into the goal with 48 seconds left to make it 5-4 and start a 6-1 run by the Pride that lasted all the way to halftime. Bentz was also hit after the goal by Chad Wiedmaier, giving Hofstra an extra-man opportunity it converted 14 seconds into the second quarter to tie the score at 5.

After trading goals, Hofstra took its first lead of the game, 7-6, with 4:55 left in the second quarter, when Kevin Ford took a skip pass from Jay Card on another extra-man opportunity. Princeton was flagged for only four penalties, but Hofstra scored on each of them. "It shaped the game," Princeton coach Chris Bates said of the extra-man play.

Hofstra scored another two goals in a span of seven seconds - first Brad Loizeaux punched it in off a pass from Drew Coholan and then Antoniades won a faceoff and dished to Jamie Lincoln for a fast break goal and a 9-6 lead.

Princeton closed it back to 9-8 with two goals in a deliberate third quarter, but an unassisted goal by Drew Coholan gave the Pride back its two-goal cushion and in the fourth quarter Lincoln scored his fourth goal.

Hofstra goalie Andrew Gvozden made just six saves, but two of them were at close range in the final three minutes.

"I thought we played like a Hofstra lacrosse team should play," Tierney said.


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