By Gio Annatelli — STAFF WRITER
Without a doubt in my mind, the Hofstra women’s soccer team is the best fall team right now. Not only are they the best team on this campus at the moment, but they are also the best team in the Colonial Athletic Association.
Riding this wave of excellence, I believe Hofstra is going to be crowned CAA Champions on Nov. 5 and I believe that they are going to make a run at the National Championship.
Hofstra started the season 2-3-1. Opening up gameplay on a four-game road trip, they fell to two tough opponents in Pittsburgh and Penn State, both of which the Pride played competitively against. They then tied Columbia and beat Boston University.
Coming back home on a four-game stand of their own, they walked all over Eastern Washington and then fell in double-overtime to Yale. The Pride lost to Yale on Sept. 4. Since that moment, Hofstra has not lost a single game.
The Pride haven’t lost in 12 straight games and have won ten in a row. They completely swept and dominated the CAA. In those 12 games, the defense and net-minders have posted nine clean sheets.
As a team, they have played incredibly well when it mattered. In that 12-game stretch, Hofstra has outscored its opponents 22-3.
This excellence starts in net for the Pride. After splitting time with Friederike Mehring last season, Ashley Wilson came into the year as the starter. Eventually, head coach Simon Riddiough did the same thing as last year with splitting time between Wilson and senior Jenna Borresen. Riddiough has a problem that coaches dream about: not knowing which goalie to start due to both playing incredible in net.
In 13 games, Borresen has allowed only one goal – for a goals-against average of 0.14, while Wilson has posted a 0.98 GAA in 16 games. Both net-minders have played terrific this season, leading Hofstra to a 13-3-2 record.
Wilson and Borresen can’t take all the credit, as the defense has been unstoppable. The defense is held down by Madeline Anderson, twins Kelly and Katie Gerdes and transfer Monique Iannella. Those four have played key roles in holding opponents to just three goals in the last 12 games.
When there’s great defense, the offense is made easier and a weight is lifted off their shoulders. Leading at the top of the offense is Kristin Desmond with nine goals and three assists. Behind her is Jenn Buoncore with four goals and four assists.
Desmond is, in my opinion, the top player in the conference. She is No. 6 in shots (50), tied for No. 2 in points (21), No. 1 in goals (9) and No. 1 in game-winning goals (4). Her transition from defense her freshman year to now being a staple in the Hofstra offense is truly great.
It is seen that the Pride have missed Buoncore being out on the field. She missed last season due to a focus on academics, but the 2015 CAA All-Rookie teamer has made her presence known in her second season with the team, taking a leadership role in the midfield.
Not only have the veterans been key in the offense, but some of the freshmen are stepping into big roles. Lucy Shepherd, Sabrina Bryan and Bella Richards have very promising futures. The trio have combined for eight goals and five assists.
With the CAA tournament coming up and the Pride heading into it with home-field advantage, I believe that Hofstra is going to be raising a trophy come Nov. 5. After that, they head to the NCAA tournament to play some of the best teams in the nation. My prediction: Hofstra will at least win three in a row and make it to the quarterfinals. This is Hofstra’s year to do some damage.