They didn’t make the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) tournament this year, but the Hofstra Pride women’s lacrosse team showed a lot of improvement this season.
On the heels of a 3-13 campaign in 2016, the Pride lost its leading scorer Lindsay Scott to graduation and was looking for answers offensively coming into 2017.
This year, Hofstra posted an 8-8 record, highlighted by a win against the No. 13 ranked Towson University Tigers in conference play. The Pride also featured one of the conference’s strongest offenses. Hofstra’s average of 11.7 goals per game was third in the CAA.
So how did the team make such a big step despite losing a key piece? Look no further than freshman midfielder Alyssa Parrella.
Parrella was far and away the team’s most valuable player. The younger sister of former Hofstra offensive standout Tiana Parrella, Alyssa Parrella carved out her own legacy in her first year with a team-high 47 goals. She also led the CAA in goals per game with 3.13.
Parrella broke onto the scene immediately with five goals in the team’s first game, a 15-5 win over Bucknell University. That game set the tone for the rest of the season. Parrella led a Pride offense that had seven games with 14 or more goals as a team.
She scored seven in a game against Fairfield University and had six in the team’s win over Towson. Only one other player for Hofstra – in men’s or women’s lacrosse – had more than five goals in a single game: Josh Byrne in a win over New Jersey Institute of Technology. Byrne, a Tewaaraton Watch List finalist on the men’s side, scored nine fewer goals than Parrella over the course of the regular season.
No matter how you slice it, Parrella’s season is one for the history books. Parrella had the second-highest number of goals for a freshman in the country. She led the Pride in assists by more than double the next player’s total. She also helped the team from the beginning of every possession to the end, leading Hofstra with 54 draw controls.
Parrella no doubt benefitted from breakout seasons from various teammates. Senior Becky Conto almost quadrupled her career high in goals for a season. Lexi Lenaghan, Drew Shapiro and Carlee Ancona all set new career highs as well.
Parrella was able to defer to her teammates when she was under defensive pressure. But the argument could certainly be made that Parrella helped make her teammates better by putting them in position to score with the right passes.
Parrella is the future of Hofstra women’s lacrosse. She’s the cornerstone going forward. The team will need help all across the field, and I wouldn’t be surprised if other players step up to become all-conference threats as well. But with Parrella, Hofstra has what every team needs: a young, dynamic star to build an offense around.
For Parrella and the Pride, this year was likely just the beginning. Most of the key players from this year’s team will be back, and Parrella will be there to lead the charge.