On a foggy Tuesday night at James M. Shuart Stadium, a dominant second quarter propelled the Hofstra men’s lacrosse team past the New Jersey Institute of Technology Highlanders for a 20-4 victory. The win improved the team to 3-0 to start the season, while the Highlanders dropped to 0-4.
Senior Josh Byrne, who was also named to the 2017 Tewaaraton Award Watch List on Tuesday, tallied a career-high seven goals and nine points. He also contributed two assists, leading the Pride to the win. The game marked Byrne’s third consecutive with at least five points.
After scoring only two goals in the first quarter, the Pride went on to score nine of its 20 goals in the second, six of which came within the first five minutes of play. Byrne scored three times and Alex Moeser scored twice, giving the Pride an 11-2 lead at halftime. Hofstra picked up 13 ground balls, while NJIT had none, and outshot the Highlanders 16-5 during that quarter. The Pride outshot the Highlanders 45-21 overall.
“We certainly would’ve liked to get off to a better start but we knew that if we just stayed the course it would start to lean because we were getting good looks. We made a little bit of an adjustment with Josh (Byrne), moved the crease around a little bit… then things started to drop in. And then Josh honed in and put a couple in the goal and I think that probably made some people relax,” Hofstra Coach Seth Tierney said.
One of the goals came from junior Brendan Kavanagh, who scored from midfield and posted two assists. The Highlanders ran a strategy known as “ten man ride,” in which the goalie comes out of the goal to cover an attackman. With the open net, Kavanagh took a successful shot.
“Coach T. was yelling at me to take a look at the net and I just shot it and was lucky it went in,” Kavanagh said.
The Pride recorded a season-high 14 assists. 20 goals also marked the most the team has had since a 20-3 victory over Sacred Heart University in 2008.
Behind freshman Kyle Gallagher, the Pride won 23 of 27 face-offs for the game.
The team also completed a 10-goal run that began with a goal from freshman Ryan Tierney at the end of the second quarter and culminated with a goal by junior Dale Stasco in the fourth to bump the lead to 19-2. It was Stasco’s first goal of the season.
Tierney, who recently earned CAA Rookie of the Week honors, matched career highs with three goals and two assists. He has scored at least three points in each of his first three games to start the season, including a career-high of five for the night.
Moeser added two goals and one assist, while juniors Dylan Alderman and Tim Golden also recorded their first goals of 2017. Alderman also had two assists.
A 14 goal lead allowed Coach Tierney to relieve junior goalie Jack Concannon, who recorded six saves and allowed two goals in the first three quarters, and play freshman Robert Casey, who made one save in his collegiate debut.
“Bobby Casey, in the 11 quarters leading up to this last quarter, has probably been the best guy on the sidelines that I have seen in quite some time. He has been there for Jack. He’s been a guy that’s hooting and hollering when guys run off the field and for him to go out and get a save today, I think that’s awesome,” Coach Tierney said.
Byrne, who feels he didn’t have his best game last time out against Georgetown is seeking revenge as the Pride look to ride the momentum into a road game at Georgetown on Saturday, March 4 at noon.
“We’re gonna practice tomorrow. It’s gonna be a quick turnaround. We are ready with the Georgetown scouting report… Last time we were down there it was 5-0 before we could even sneeze and we have to come out and do a better job. They’re a talented team. They’re coached by a Hofstra alum and it’s going to mean a lot to him… Not only do the players want to win, but the coaches want to win, so there’s going to be a lot of competition on that sideline.”