Hofstra men’s lacrosse improved to 5-0 Saturday, beating the defending NCAA national champion University of North Carolina (UNC) 11-9 in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Junior Dylan Alderman had the best game of his Hofstra career with three goals and three assists, while senior captain Josh Byrne had a hat trick of his own, upping his tally to 16 goals on the season.
“Dylan did a great job of dodging hard, he wasn’t going to be denied and he did a great job of moving the ball,” Hofstra head coach Seth Tierney said.
This was an intense back-and-forth contest featuring seven ties and four lead changes with neither team able to pull away until the end.
Down 8-7, Hofstra went on a four-goal run highlighted by two goals in the span of 45 seconds that gave Hofstra a solid 11-8 lead with 13:55 in the fourth quarter.
Hofstra tightened up the defense after that, aiming to run the clock out.
Alex Moeser sprung the run with two of the four goals.
North Carolina had plenty of quality chances in the fourth quarter, but senior goalie Jack Concannon stepped up and had three saves in three consecutive possessions to effectively ice the game. Concannon had 13 saves on the day.
After giving up four goals in the first quarter, Hofstra’s defense clamped down UNC’s attack as the Pride only allowed five goals the rest of the way.
With a 2-1 lead, Hofstra allowed three consecutive goals by the Tar Heels in the span of four minutes.
“There were a couple that we just gave them; just miscommunication, or we were late, or we just tried to do too much,” head coach Tierney said.
“Defense is about vanilla. That’s the flavor of defense. Just be vanilla and again we pulled it out in the end.”
North Carolina held an edge in shots (43 to Hofstra’s 35), and in face-offs (15 to 8), but Hofstra was 2-2 in man up opportunities that ultimately made the difference in this close game.
The Pride has been very strong in the fourth quarter this season and has closed efficently in close games, with four of the team’s five victories decided by two goals.
At 5-0, having just knocked off the fifth ranked team in the country by the Inside Lacrosse Poll, Hofstra made a huge jump into the national rankings.
After being just outside the Top 20 a week ago, the Pride is now ranked seventh in the nation, a jump of 21 spots in the polls.
Hofstra was set to play Cleveland State University at home on Tuesday night at 7 p.m., but that game has been cancelled due to expected inclement weather. Instead, the Pride will take the field next on Saturday against Providence College at home.