By Jordan Sawyer — STAFF WRITER
For the second time in three seasons, the Hofstra women’s soccer team found themselves in a scrappy defensively driven first-round match in the NCAA Tournament. After missing the conference tournament last year, the Pride roared back with one of the best seasons in program history, which came to an end with a 1-0 loss to Auburn University on Friday night at Auburn Soccer Complex.
“I’m extremely proud of the effort each individual player did turn in, disappointed with the result but extremely happy with the performance,” said Hofstra head coach Simon Riddiough after the game.
The Tigers handed Hofstra their first loss in over two months after riding a 12-game winning streak into the tournament, finishing Hofstra’s season 15-4-2.
Auburn was kept off the board until Bri Folds fired a shot from the top of the box and found the top left corner of the net with 26:06 to play in regulation.
Hofstra finished the first half with only three shots, all from the leg of Kristin Desmond. The CAA Player of the Year had two opportunities early on, but one flew high and the other sailed wide.
The Tigers more than doubled the Pride’s shot total in the first half with seven shots, tallying two on target. Jenna Borresen finished the first half with two saves, totaling 27 career stops and a .920 save percentage.
Hofstra came out of the half charged up and ready to make a statement.
Lucy Porter took her only two shots of the game in the first seven minutes of the half, but a stout Auburn defense kept her scoreless. The Pride matched their first half shot total in the eighth minute as Desmond fired her fourth and final shot on goal.
Stalwart defense on both sides carried a scoreless game into the 64th minute. Auburn broke the tie, as Kristen Dodson fed a lead pass to Folds for the eventual game-winning goal.
The Pride continued to fight with their backs against the wall and the season on the line.
Hofstra finished the last 26 minutes with five shots, two on goal. Yet, the valiant effort wasn’t strong enough to break through Auburn’s suffocating defense.
Auburn outshot Hofstra 14-12 as the Pride tallied nine shots in their second half surge. Ashley Wilson finished the game with three saves on seven faced shots.
Hofstra fielded only five seniors along with four freshmen, leaving the team with great experience for another title run next season.
“Hopefully next year we’re in a different position and we can advance a little bit in the NCAA [tournament],” Riddiough said.