By Alexandra Licata — STAFF WRITER
Sophomore Oscar Ramsay scored his first career goal to lead the Hofstra men’s soccer to a 1-0 win against the defending Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) champions, the University of Delaware Blue Hens, at Hofstra Soccer Stadium Saturday night.
The win was the first the Pride tallied since their season opener against Penn State and first in conference play. They are now 2-4-6 on the season and remain undefeated in CAA play (1-0-4). The Blue Hens drop to 5-3-2 on the year and 2-2-1 in conference play.
“We played a certain way to a certain system and I’m really pleased with how the boys carried it out,” said Hofstra head coach Richard Nuttall. “I thought they were very detailed in how they played and how we wanted them to play … I just think we battled well and I’m really proud of the guys. They were tremendous.”
Hofstra began the game with aggressive offensive play, recording two shots on goal within the first seven minutes. Delaware keeper Todd Morton made saves on both shots, preventing the Pride from getting on the board early.
The Pride had several opportunities to score in the first half, including Luke Brown’s free kick after a foul was called on the Blue Hens, but the ball sailed over the net. Jon Fraser also had a chance to score with four minutes to play in the first half, but Morton made his third save of the half to keep the game scoreless.
The Pride outshot the Blue Hens 6-3 in the first half and played strong defensively. Delaware only recorded one shot on goal, which Pride goalie Alex Ashton saved.
Trouble stirred early in the second half for Hofstra when the Blue Hens’ Noa Benninga held control of the ball and launched it downfield while Ashton was playing up with his team on the Blue Hens’ side of the field. The ball went over Ashton’s head, bounced and hit the crossbar where Ashton could then secure it before it caused any damage.
The Pride got on the board when Ramsay scored an unassisted goal in the second half with 25 minutes to go. Brown attempted to cross in a pass, but the ball was deflected by a Delaware defender towards Ramsay, who put the ball into the upper right corner of the net to give the Pride the lead.
“We know [Ramsay] can be a very special player. He’s great on the ball. He’s great when he gets his hips facing forward,” Nuttall said. “And I thought today was probably his best game. He’s had a little bit of an injury issue, but he’s just coming out. He’s getting sharp and he’s doing a good job. So I’m pleased for him and I’m pleased for the whole team because we battled.”
Hofstra’s defense continued to play strong, allowing Delaware only one shot on goal throughout the game. Ashton made one save and earned his fourth shutout of the season.
“I think it’s a team defense kind of thing from the forwards, backwards, through to the midfield on defense,” Nuttall said. “I think they did a wonderful job on closing them down and working hard to deny space and deny shots.”
Hofstra outshot Delaware 10-6. Danny Elliott and Fraser led the Pride with two shots apiece.
The Pride returns to action in another CAA matchup Wednesday, Oct. 11, against Drexel University in Philadelphia at 7 p.m.