Postscript from Hofstra at Towson
Towson sounded a familiar refrain in the aftermath of Saturday’s 12-5 setback to No. 10 and Colonial Athletic Association rival Hofstra at Johnny Unitas Stadium on Saturday.
To be more specific, inaccurate shots that miss the cage and don’t test the opposing goalkeeper at all. Only 13 of the 30 attempts the Tigers (2-6 overall and 0-2 in the conference) took Saturday tested Pride junior goalie Andrew Gvozden, who was forced to make just saves in the third quarter and none in the fourth.
“Once again, we’re back to that same old thing I’ve been saying all year,” Towson coach Tony Seaman said. “In the first half, we have 20 shots and 11 are off the cage. Those 11 shots are never going in. They never had a chance to go in because they’re not on the goal. That’s such a huge factor.”
For the season, the offense has scored just 55 times on 245 shots. The team’s shot percentage of .224 can’t even crack the top 50 in that category in Division I.
Part of the Tigers’ problem against Hofstra was a lethargic showing in the third quarter. Once the Pride (8-1, 2-1) scored the first few goals of that period and put Towson in a deficit, the players began to feel harried and make poor decisions.
“I think it was impatience,” said junior attackman Matt Lamon, who scored a team-high two goals. “We were trying to rush it. We got down by a few goals, and the kids were trying to make a play, trying to push the ball on fastbreaks too much. We needed to settle down. We were right in the game, too, in the third quarter.”
If the Tigers harbor any hope of qualifying for the four-team CAA tournament, they must improve their accuracy and their shot selection.
*Hofstra’s 12-goal output would seem to be a mark against the Towson defense, but the unit didn’t fare badly. The defense caused 14 turnovers to the Pride’s nine. But the problem was that the Tigers would give the ball right back. “We were making plays in the second half, but we weren’t finishing them,” senior goalkeeper Travis Love said. “We’d knock the ball down, and they’d come up with it. We played the game plan, but we didn’t finish our plays.”
*Hofstra seems to have found its comfort zone with a revamped starting midfield of juniors Kevin Ford and Brad Loizeaux and sophomore Ian Braddish. Loizeaux and Braddish replaced senior Steve Serling (lacerated spleen) and sophomore Drew Coholan (shoulder), both of whom are out for the remainder of the season. Ford and Loizeaux didn’t post a goal or an assist, but Braddish registered one goal and two assists against Towson. “We knew we had to take some of the pressure off,” said Braddish, a transfer from North Carolina. “Losing Steve and Drew was huge. They’re real good players, and it’s easy to play with the guys. You can mix anyone in because anyone can play in the system. You just need to be able to catch and throw and listen to Coach T [Seth Tierney] and do whatever he says, and we’ll win.”
*With the win, the Pride improved to 2-1 in the CAA and appears to be lining up for a spot in the conference tournament. That would represent a remarkable reversal from last season when Hofstra missed the CAA tournament and had to sweat out Selection Sunday to find out it had received an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. “You’re talking to a guy that wasn’t in the CAA tournament last year,” Tierney said when asked if Saturday’s contest had “must-win” proportions attached to it. “We’re just looking to get in there and make some things happen. So it was a must win, I think, either way at this point.”