Hofstra women's basketball enhances chance at CAA tourney bye with win over Northeastern

When Hofstra women’s basketball seniors Sam Brigham and Jess Fuller were taken out in the final moments of Sunday afternoon’s game against Northeastern both showed signs of emotions knowing they had just finished their last regular season home contest. However their heralded Hofstra careers are far from over as the Pride’s 53-37 win over the Huskies keeps them very much alive for a top four Colonial Athletic Association finish that would earn a first round bye at the conference tournament that gets underway March 11.

Hofstra’s 53-37 win over Northeastern before 622 fans at the Mack Sports Complex puts the Pride (18-11, 11-6 in CAA) into a three-way tie for third place in the conference standings with Virginia Commonwealth and Drexel. Hofstra closes out the regular season this Wednesday evening at Delaware(18-10, 10-7 in CAA), who is just one game behind the Pride, and the winner of this game may very well end up with that all-important first round bye.


Hofstra men's basketball team stays hot heading into CAA Tourney with win over Georgia State

The Hofstra men’s basketball team’s 2-7 start to Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) play last month seems like a distant memory after the Pride completed the regular season Saturday with its eighth win in nine games over Georgia State 87-74. Hofstra finished its red hot February with its fourth 80 plus performance of the month and enters next weekends CAA Tournament Richmond clicking on all cylinders.

Hofstra (18-13, 10-8 in CAA) will enter the CAA Tournament as the seventh seed and play Friday night at 6 p.m. versus Georgia State, with a win pitting the Pride against second-seeded Northeastern in the quarterfinals Saturday. In order for Hofstra to capture the CAA title and get the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2001 it will need to win four games in four days, something that has never been done in the history of the conference.

“No one has ever won all four but hey, I’ve never had a team go nine out of 10 down the stretch before so maybe this is kismet,” said Hofstra men’s basketball head coach Tom Pecora after the Pride defeated Georgia State in front of 3,964 fans at the Mack Sports Complex.


Hofstra men's lacrosse gears up for season opener at Princeton

For the first time since 2004 the Hofstra men's lacrosse team will not be opening its season against longtime nemesis Massachusetts, but the 11th ranked Pride will continue its recent run of starting against a challenging opponent when it takes the field at ninth ranked Princeton this Saturday.

Saturday's nationally-televised Noon game on ESPNU at Princeton's Class of 52 Stadium begins a brutal three game stretch to start the season, with home games versus 16th ranked Brown and fourth ranked Johns Hopkins on tap the next two weeks. "I'm just excited to get going and hear that opening whistle," said Hofstra men's lacrosse head coach Seth Tierney.

After holding scrimmages the last three weekends against Syracuse, Le Moyne, Rutgers and Yale, Tierney and his coaching staff determined much of what his starting lineup will look like, but in an interview Thursday afternoon was not ready to announce who would be lining up in net. The battle for who will be starting goalie has been a spirited one between sophomore Andrew Gvozden, who posted an 8.38 goals against average in 12 games last season, and freshman Rob Bellairs.

"Every time we're about to make an answer we kind of talk ourselves out of it so we've got to kind of go with our gut," said Tierney. "We've got to just make the best decision for our team."


Hofstra men's basketball keeps momentum with Bracketbuster win over Rider in OT

The Hofstra men’s basketball team’s ESPN Bracketbuster game against Rider Saturday did not have any bearing on post-season implications as the Pride’s only path to March Madness will be winning the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament, but picking up a 92-89 overtime win was still important to maintain the team’s recent momentum.

With Saturday’s hard fought overtime win Hofstra (16-13) has won seven of eight and is hot at the right time of season with only two games remaining before heading to Richmond for the CAA Tournament starting March 5. No matter what happens in the Pride’s final two conference games at Northeastern Tuesday and home versus Georgia State on Feb. 27, Hofstra (8-8 in the CAA) is locked into the seventh seed for its opening game at the Richmond Coliseum.

“Even though we might be locked in at that seven spot our goal is to go 10-8 in the conference and see if we could be in a three-way tie for fifth, sixth and seventh and play in the seven spot….. and then just have our mojo going, going into the tournament,” said Hofstra men’s basketball head coach Tom Pecora.

Hofstra women's lacrosse posts blowout over St. Mary's (Calif.) in tuneup for Notre Dame

         Despite having a highly anticipated matchup against eighth ranked Notre Dame this Tuesday the Hofstra women’s lacrosse team showed no signs of looking ahead to the Fighting Irish in its opening game Saturday against St. Mary’s (Calif.). After falling behind 2-0 the Pride scored 19 straight goals in route to a 21-3 win that head coach Abby Morgan hopes gets her team adequately prepared for a stiff test in just three days.
         When the Hofstra-Notre Dame game was initially conceived on the schedule the Fighting Irish wanted to make it as the Pride’s opener but Morgan made sure her team would at least have one game under their belt before taking on a top 10 program. Morgan is hopeful that Saturday’s St. Mary’s game, which featured 11 different Hofstra scorers, combined with scrimmages against Brown and Dartmouth last weekend will give the Pride the needed preparation to pull off an upset win against the Irish.
        “I think that we’re a little bit more prepared for playing Notre Dame,” said Morgan of how important it was to schedule two scrimmages and one game prior to Tuesday’s big showdown. “It is nice to have that confidence going in.”


Hofstra women's basketball wins close battle over George Mason

      On paper Thursday afternoon's Hofstra-George Mason women's basketball game looked like a mismatch after the Pride defeated the Patriots 72-39 in Fairfax, Va. just two weeks ago. However the last place team in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) gave Hofstra all they could handle before the Pride pulled away in the end for a 59-49 win in front of 1,016 fans during "Family Fun Day" at the Mack Sports Complex.
      Despite the Pride (15-11, 8-6 in CAA) having blown out George Mason on Feb. 4, Hofstra women's basketball head coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey was not surprised that the result was much closer the second time around since the Patriots did not have starting point guard Brittany Poindexter in the first meeting. "Knowing that Brittany Poindexter did not play [in the first meeting] .... we knew had a pretty big task at hand," said Kilburn-Steveskey. "This team was a different team than we played last time."


Hofstra women's lacrosse eager for start of 2010 season this Saturday

     After barely missing out on the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) playoffs the last two years, the Hofstra women's lacrosse team is ramped up to hit the Shuart Stadium turf for its opener against St. Mary's College (Calif.) this Saturday. The motivation to make certain that 2010 does not end without post-season play will be especially on the minds of eight Pride seniors who got a taste of being in the NCAA Tournament as freshman in 2007.
    "It is interesting to think about the seniors of that 07 squad, their freshman year they didn't make the CAA Tournament, their sophomore and junior year they were in the championship game and lost," said fourth-year Hofstra women's lacrosse head coach Abby Morgan of how this years seniors much like the ones three years ago had experienced back-to-back years of major disappointment heading into the end of their college women's lacrosse careers.  "The third time hopefully is the charm for us to do what we're supposed to do in the CAA conference."
    Two returning veterans earned preseason All-CAA honors including senior midfielder Corrine Gandolfi and junior defender Katie Hertsch. Gandolfi is coming off a third-team All-America junior season that saw her score 45 goals and 25 assists while Hertsch recorded 36 ground balls and 30 draw controls.


Hofstra freshman Shante Evans showing why she is among CAA women's basketball elite

Picture Courtesy Hofstra Athletic Communications
Hofstra women’s basketball freshman forward Shante Evans is having a smash rookie season leading the Pride in both scoring (13.4 points per game) and rebounding (8.9 a game), and in normal circumstances would be a slam dunk for Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) rookie of the year. However Evans happens to be a freshman the same season as Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne, who had previously committed to national powerhouse Connecticut as the number one-rated recruit in the nation, and in her first season with the Blue Hens is averaging 25.8 points a game.
While winning CAA rookie of the year is unlikely for Evans given how dominant a force Delle Donne has been in Newark, Del., what is certain is that the 6’0 forward from West Chester, Pa. is one of the the biggest recruits ever landed by the Hofstra women’s basketball program. She was ranked the 54th best player in the class of 2009 as well as the ninth best forward by ESPN/HoopGurlz, and has been living up the hype so far in her short Hofstra career. Following a 28-point performance in a 73-58 win over UNC-Wilmington on Super Bowl Sunday, longtime Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Mel Greenberg wrote about how Evans has made an immediate impact on the Hofstra program in her freshman season.


Play of injured Fuller inspires Hofstra women's basketball to win over first place VCU

Four days after Jess Fuller suffered a severe sprained ankle against UNC-Wilmington the senior center decided to play through the pain in Thursday's women’s basketball matinee against Virginia Commonwealth. The 6’4 Fuller only logged 15 minutes but provided a spark off the bench with 10 points and one block to help the Pride upset the first place team in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).
Thanks to the heroic effort from Fuller along with 19 points from sophomore guard Nicole Capurso, Hofstra defeated VCU 74-66 for its fourth win in five games. Sam Brigham also stepped up during the Pride's second of three weekday afternoon games this season with 17 points on 12-12 from the free throw line to help Hofstra improve to 14-10 and 7-5 in the CAA.
When Fuller first entered the game she blocked a shot with 1:46 left in the first half bringing the Hofstra bench to its feet. Her basket with 4:11 left in the second half game made it 63-56 Hofstra and gave the Pride some much-needed insurance after the Rams (16-8, 9-3 in CAA) had clawed their way back into the game after tailing by as many as 14.

Hofstra student section in full force to see Wednesday's blizzard win over Drexel

With the Long Island area blitzed by blizzard conditions the Mack Sports Complex was largely empty for Wednesday’s Hofstra-Drexel men’s basketball game, but the student section was still in full force creating a hostile road environment for the Pride’s longtime conference rival dating back to the days of the America East. The over 100 hundred Hofstra students that crawled across the Hempstead campus amidst the winter elements created a sixth man and aided Hofstra to a 75-64 victory for the Pride’s fourth win in five games.

"God bless the fans who came out,” said Hofstra men’s basketball head coach Tom Pecora of the few hundred supporters who found their way to the Mack Sports Complex during a blizzard that dumped over a foot of snow around much of the New York City region. “The students were good, they were noisy."

With the win Hofstra is now 13-13 and 6-8 in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). Official attendance was listed as 893 but the enthusiastic student section made it seem like a few thousand. “It was fun that the students came through the weather," said Hofstra junior forward Greg Washington. “The turnout was good.”


Hofstra women's basketball steps up after Fuller injury in win over UNC-Wilmington

Just over five minutes into Super Bowl Sunday’s Hofstra-UNC Wilmington women’s basketball game Pride head coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey raced across the court toward the direction of senior center Jess Fuller, who lay on the floor grimacing with pain. Fuller was helped off the court by the training staff and suddenly Hofstra was left without its tallest payer , who just one game ago became the program’s all-time leader in blocked shots.

With Fuller missing the Pride stepped up their games in a 73-58 win to give Hofstra (13-10, 6-5 in Colonial Athletic Association) its third win in four games. The 6'4 Fuller has a severally sprained ankle and her status for the remainder of the season is uncertain.

“I saw their eyes a little bit when she went down so that is why I ran out there so quick, “said Coach Kilburn-Steveskey of her initial worries that Fuller’s injury would cause the rest of the team to panic. “All she was caring about was us getting that [win] and I think we rallied around that situation.”

Stepping up large in Fuller’s absence were freshman forward Shante Evans with 28 points and senior guard Sam Brigham, who tallied 16 on 6-9 shooting. Sophomore guard Nicole Capurso was also in double figures with 12 points on four three pointers. Red-shirt sophomore had a solid all-around game with nine points and nine assists.

“We just picked each other up,” said Brigham of how the Pride responded once Fuller went down. “I feel like we really stepped up as a team.”

Hofstra will try and continue its recent momentum with a home game against first place Virginia Commonwealth this Thursday with a special Noon tipoff in honor of “Family Fun Day.”

Hofstra offense hits 2nd half wall in home loss to Northeastern

As Hofstra men’s basketball head coach Tom Pecora stepped to the microphone for his post game press conference Saturday following a 75-55 home loss to Northeastern one would have expected much anger and frustration to be expressed after the Pride were outscored 45-23 in the second half. Instead the ninth year Hofstra head coach showed a relatively calm demeanor despite just watching his team shoot 25 percent to allow the Huskies to run away with an easy win on the Pride’s home floor.

“There are teams in the past I might ride real hard for two days but I think we’re too far down the line for that with this group,” said Pecora of why he does not plan to yell and scream at his players on the practice floor after they only scored 12 points in the first 16 minutes of the second half to quickly turn a 32-30 halftime lead into a rare blowout loss at the Mack Sports Complex. “They have to have some pride in the fact that somebody came in here and beat their tales pretty good.”


Hofstra men's lacrosse gears up for pre-season scrimmages without injured Kevin Ford

Coming off back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances there are high expectations for the Hofstra men’s lacrosse team this year but the Pride offense will be faced with a tough challenge to start 2010 when it is without one of its key scorers during the first month of the season.

Junior attackman Kevin Ford, the Pride's third-leading scorer a year ago, broke his foot during pre-season conditioning and will be out until at least the end of March after having surgery in mid January.  Junior Stephen Bentz will fill in for Ford at attack during the beginning of the season and head coach Seth Tierney has been happy with how the Massapequa High School graduate, who tallied six goals last year, has stepped up to the challenge so far.   

Tierney will get a first chance to view Hofstra’s attack minus Ford in game action this Sunday when the Pride plays two scrimmages in the Carrier Dome against defending national champion Syracuse and Division II power Le Moyne. These two scrimmages along with pre-season tilts at Rutgers on Feb. 13 and home versus Yale on Feb. 20 will also allow star Canadian attackers Jay Card and University of Denver transfer Jamie Lincoln to start to gel into what Tierney hopes will be an explosive offense.


Hofstra athletic trainer heads to Haiti to help earthquake victims

Courtesy Hofstra Athletic Communications
Last month's Haitian earthquake that has killed over 200,000 people touched many people on the Hofstra University campus but especially Pride assistant athletic trainer David Riviere, who lived in Haiti until he was 14 and has many family and friends still living in the now ravaged Caribbean country. The 2007 Hofstra graduate, who works as an athletic trainer primarily for the Pride's volleyball and baseball programs, recently returned from a 10-day visit to his native county volunteering at a a hospital that took in many of the injured victims from the Jan. 12 earthquake that measured 7.1 on the Richter Scale.

Riviere, who moved from Haiti to Somerville, Mass. when he was 14, traveled to the earthquake-plagued region on Jan. 18 to deliver much-needed supplies to his many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends whose homes were badly damaged from what is considered one of the world's worst natural disasters to ever strike. After Riviere dropped off more than two-weeks worth of food and other supplies to his family and friends, he spent the vast majority of the remainder of his trip at a nearby hospital as a medical volunteer.

"It was humbling," said Riviere of his 10 day visit to Haiti in the wake of the Jan. 12 earthquake. "There is a lot of people in need over there."

Many of the victims Riviere cared for suffered broken bones and needed to have surgery. He said the most difficult task was informing patients who were starving without food for a days that they could not eat before having a surgery procedure because of medical reasons. "They were starving beyond belief," he said.