The Hofstra Pride women’s lacrosse team shocked the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) on Easter Sunday with a critical 17-15 victory over the Towson University Tigers, ranked No. 13 in the nation. Hofstra has not beaten a team ranked higher since 2010 when it bested a No. 8 Towson team.
“Our kids played with incredible heart out there all game long,” said Hofstra head coach Shannon Smith. “They fought for a full 60 minutes against a very good Towson team.”
Hofstra had been able to put together good stretches against ranked teams in the past. The Pride took the lead against top-ranked Maryland and No. 17 James Madison University earlier this season. Hofstra fought tick-for-tack against those teams for at least 10 minutes apiece. Until today, Hofstra was never able to put it all together for a whole game.
Hofstra looked to be on the verge of another blowout loss when Towson jumped ahead 4-0 at the beginning of the game. But the Pride fought back and played evenly for the rest of the half, heading to the locker room trailing 11-7. It should have been a 10-7 game, but Carly Tellekamp scored on a fast break with just three seconds left in the half, noticeably frustrating the Pride.
“We were kind of mad about it,” Smith said. “We were mad that the goal went in. We used that energy in the second half.”
Hofstra’s intensity improved tremendously in the second half. Hofstra scored eight of the first nine scores in the latter frame, giving Hofstra a 15-12 lead it wouldn’t relinquish for the remainder of the game.
“Our focus level [changed in the second half],” Smith said. “We came out really confident and playing with a chip on our shoulder.” Sophomore goalkeeper Maddie Fields and the entire Pride defense had a wonderful performance.
Defense has been Hofstra’s Achilles’ heel all season. Fields made some key saves, including two in Towson’s final possession with the game still on the line. Fields finished with 10 saves. Hofstra held the conference’s best offense to just 15 goals after allowing 17 in its previous two games to University of Delaware and James Madison. The Pride defense has been hot-and-cold all season. Although the team allowed 15 goals, the defensive unit gave up just four scores in the second half.
On offense, Alyssa Parrella led a squad that had no trouble breaking down the Tigers’ defense in the second half. Parrella had six scores while junior midfielder Drew Shapiro added five and senior Becky Conto had three.
The Pride are now 1-3 in the CAA and looks to add its second win when it faces off against the College of William & Mary on Friday, April 21. Hofstra recorded its lone CAA win last year against the Tribe.
“This is a huge confidence booster,” Parrella said. “At this point, I don’t think anybody on our team thinks anybody can stop us.”