Off to its best start in program history with an 9-0 record, the Hofstra’s men’s lacrosse team has climbed its way up the scale, now ranked sixth in the Nike/USILA Coaches Poll.
The Pride is also ranked third in both the Nike/US Lacrosse Poll and the Maverik/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll. With the conclusion of non-conference play, the team now sets its eyes on its upcoming CAA opponents.
“Record-wise, the team has performed as best as they could to be 9-0. We still haven’t played our best lacrosse yet, which I know people can be reading this and going, ‘What does he expect?’ We expect more,” said Hofstra head coach Seth Tierney. “With CAA play here, hopefully we’ve learned enough lessons that we can take forward because CAA lacrosse and conference lacrosse is a whole different animal.”
The Pride averages 11.56 goals per game, compared to allowing only 7.78 goals per game to opponents.
In addition to the defense, junior Jack Concannon has provided the Pride with solid defense in the net. He has 114 saves on the season and a .626 save percentage. Concannon recorded a career-high 19 saves against Providence College, earning him CAA Player of the Week earlier this month.
“Jack’s been wonderful for us. He’s been a guy that’s been in the back of the defense and has bailed us out,” Coach Tierney said. “I couldn’t be more proud of Jack and he’s seeing the ball really well. The defense relies on him and he instills confidence in the guys that play in front of him.”
The team is also outscoring its opponents 104-70. Josh Byrne, who was named to the Tewaaraton Award Watch List, has recorded 25 goals and 20 assists in nine games. Byrne transferred to Hofstra last year as a junior and is now making his final campaign with the Pride.
“Josh has been doing a good job. He’s done a really good job with the young guys and he’s done a really good job with letting the game come to him. I’m just really proud of him – of how much he’s matured over his time here – and I’m looking forward to seeing him play and carry himself and push forward through the CAA run,” Coach Tierney said.
In addition to Byrne, Ryan Tierney, son of Coach Tierney, has added 18 goals and nine assists.
“To coach him at this level has been a wonderful experience … He’s done a great job of letting the game come to him, learning and finishing some shots that he should finish, making some good plays and riding hard. So I’m looking forward to seeing how he reacts to the CAA portion of our schedule, but so far it’s been great,” Coach Tierney said.
Brendan Kavanagh and Dylan Alderman have also had sizable contributions for the Pride. Kavanagh has scored 15 goals and four assists, while Alderman has 10 goals and 13 assists.
“Everybody’s had a similar size piece of the pie. This year when Josh [Byrne] didn’t score or didn’t have goals against Georgetown, other guys picked it up. I just think that these guys are feeding off each other energy-wise and role-wise, and again, for Kavanagh and [Alex] Moeser, our juniors, those guys have played an awful lot of lacrosse for us right now,” Coach Tierney said. “Alderman is playing an awful lot of lacrosse for us right now. And then the two young guys in [Jimmy] Yanes and Ryan [Tierney], those guys are just learning. They’re thrilled and the four guys, the first midfield and Josh, have done a great job of mentoring those two young guys.”
Coach Tierney is looking for the team to learn from its mistakes and grow defensively, along with becoming hungrier offensively.
“When you get to 5-0, 6-0, you start to face some social media pressure and the regular media pressure. You start to play with these added weights on your shoulder and we have to eliminate those,” Coach Tierney said.
The Pride edges its opponents in the faceoff 51 percent to 49 percent and it is because of Kyle Gallagher and Kris Clarke, who combine to provide two solid faceoff choices for the team.
“I think we’re going to use them as we see fit going forward and if one’s hot we’re going to stay with them, and if not then we’re going to sub out and see if we can get the other one hot,” Coach Tierney said.
“We’re just thankful that we have two guys right now that are doing pretty well.”
The Pride cleared the first hurdle in CAA competition by beating Fairfield University, the team that knocked Hofstra out of the CAA Tournament last year, by a 10-6 score on Saturday afternoon.
Next up for Hofstra is a trip to the University of Delaware on Saturday, April 8. The Pride rounds out the schedule with games against the University of Massachusetts, Drexel University and perennial CAA threat – Towson University.
Despite all the success Hofstra has enjoyed so far, it may be all for nothing if the Pride can’t keep up its winning ways in conference play.
“The records are all clean, whether you had a successful out-of-conference schedule or not,” Coach Tierney said.
“You’ve got to show up and play your best lacrosse going into this conference stretch here.”