The Hofstra men’s lacrosse team’s fall season is winding down but before the equipment is put away until the winter, the Pride will get one last chance to prepare for 2010 with an exhibition game against the England national team this Saturday night at Shuart Stadium.
Team England will be visiting Hofstra as part of its U.S tour against six Division I schools in preparation for next year’s World Lacrosse Championships. “It is going to be a great opportunity and we’re excited that [Team England] selected us as one of the teams they will play,” said Hofstra men's lacrosse head coach Seth Tierney.
The game against England will give Tierney a chance to see game-action from two of his key offensive players in attackmen Jay Card and Jamie Lincoln, who both missed last weekend’s Nick Colleluori Classic to try out for the Canadian national team. Card enters his junior season after earning honorable mention All-American accolades while Lincoln arrives at Hofstra as a transfer from the University of Denver, where he scored 48 goals as a freshman in 2008.
The fall season has given Tierney a chance to view 21 new players including 16 freshmen. Among the key losses from last season’s 11-4 team that earned an at-large NCAA tourney birth are the entire starting midfield unit of Michael Colleluori, Anthony Muscarella and Ryan Carter. “Half of our team is new so we had to go back to work and start from the beginning a little but they have responded well,” said Tierney.
The injury bug has also hit Hofstra hard this fall including last year’s third-leading scorer Kevin Ford nursing a Jones Fracture in his foot that will keep him away from the field until December. Card has also been dealing with an ankle injury but is close to 100% recovered as fall ball winds down.
One of the key questions entering the fall season was what would the starting midfield look like in 2010 after losing three key seniors. In the Colleluori Classic against Pennsylvania and UMBC, the first midfield unit consisted of senior Dan Stein along with sophomores Brad Loizeaux and Michael Hamilton. Card and Lincoln will likely anchor the starting attack with the third man on the unit being either Ford, junior Stephen Bentz or sophomore Mike DeNapoli. Tierney also said Ford, Bentz and DeNapoli could see time at midfield.
Hofstra’s entire starting defense from 2009 returns including red-shirt seniors Christian Scuderi, Adam Swarsen, and junior Mike Skudin with freshman Cody Solaja, an All-American out of Dallas, also expected to see time with the long poles. The defensive midfield loses Steve Prifte but returns junior Steven DeNapoli, who earned All-Colonial Athletic Association second team honors in 2009 and was named one of three Pride captains along with Swarsen and senior midfielder Tom Interlicchio
Tierney could have a “good problem” on his hands in goal with sophomore Andrew Gvozden being pushed hard by freshman Rob Bellairs, an All-American out of Plainedge High School. Last season Gvozden did a solid job taking over taking over the cage in Hofstra’s third game after starter Danny Orlando left the team for personal reasons. However Tierney said the starting goalie position will be based on who has the hot hand heading into 2010 and both will split time in the game against England.
Hofstra’s final fall exhibition game against England faces off this Saturday night starting at 7 p.m.