In a 13-12 upset to the University of Massachusetts during the semifinals of the CAA Tournamen at Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson, Maryland on Thursday night, the Pride was unable to complete a dramatic comeback as Massachusetts senior Dan Muller scored from midfield as time expired to advance the Minutemen to the CAA title game.
CAA Player of the Year Josh Byrne scored five goals and had one assist for the Pride to end his season with 41 goals and 25 assists, while CAA Rookie of the Year Ryan Tierney netted four, giving him a total of 31 goals on the year.
The Pride, who trailed 8-3 entering the second half, scored nine goals in the third and fourth quarters combined to come back and tie the game at 12.
Both teams were held off the board for the first five minutes of the second half, but Massachusetts opened scoring with 9:22 to go in the third quarter to extend its lead to 9-3. Tierney scored his second goal of the game with 7:31 to go before Tyler Bogart netted another goal for the Minutemen to make it 10-4. The Pride’s Brendan Kavanagh netted two and Michael Diener scored his second goal of the season to make it 10-7 Massachusetts entering the fourth quarter.
Massachusetts scored within the first 25 seconds of the fourth quarter to make it 11-7. In a game in which the Pride originally faced a six-goal deficit, it now trailed by two as Byrne and Tierney each scored their third goals of the game to make it 11-9.
Tierney netted his fourth goal to make it a one-goal game with 10:45 remaining in the fourth quarter. Byrne then scored his fourth goal of the game and 40th of the season to tie the game with five minutes to go. The Minutemen scored a goal of their own, but Byrne again answered with his fifth goal of the game to tie it up again at 12 with 4:14 left in the game.
As time began to run out, Kavanagh took a shot at the net, which went wide, with eight seconds to go. A turnover by the Pride’s Dylan Alderman with two seconds remaining allowed Muller to take a shot from midfield and score as the clock struck zero.
Muller led the Minutemen with four goals and one assist.
Despite opening the game’s scoring when Tierney shot one past Minutemen keeper D.J. Smith just under two minutes into the game, the Pride fell behind as Massachusetts scored two goals to lead 2-1 after the first quarter.
Byrne tied the game in the second quarter, but Massachusetts then scored three goals to lead 5-2. Within a minute and 10 seconds, Ben Spencer, Jesse Leung, and Jeff Trainor all put one in the net to give the Minutemen a three-goal lead with 8:30 to go till the half. Leung added another goal to extend the lead to 6-2 over the Pride. Byrne netted his second goal of the game to make it 6-3, but the Minutemen scored two more to make it 8-3 at halftime before the Pride started to make its comeback in the third and fourth quarters that ultimately ended in an upset.
Kavanagh had two goals and two assists on the night. Alderman and Dale Stasco each added an assist.
The Minutemen outshot the Pride 40-26. Massachusetts also won more faceoffs, winning 17 compared to the Pride’s nine.
Hofstra keeper Jack Concannon made 11 saves for a .458 save percentage, while Smith made five for a .294 save percentage for the Minutemen.
The Pride, who was ranked #14 as of May 1st by Inside Lacrosse, now hopes to get an NCAA Tournament bid by the Division I Men’s Lacrosse Committee, though Thursday’s loss may have ended Hofstra’s hopes at an at-large berth.