Hofstra women's lacrosse wins CAA opener over William & Mary

Hofstra women’s lacrosse head coach Abby Morgan made a game time decision in the Pride’s Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) opener Friday night to start senior Mary Cuddihy in net over sophomore Jackie Pandolf. The move paid major dividends as Cuddihy recorded seven saves in the first half and nine for the game to help 16th ranked Hofstra (7-3, 1-0 in CAA) build a comfortable lead in route to a 15-7 win over 19th ranked William & Mary (6-5, 0-1 in CAA).

Cuddihy gave up a goal on William & Mary’s first shot 29 seconds into the game but went on to stonewall the Tribe for the next 32:74. “She played really well,” said Morgan.

Despite Cuddihy’s solid play in net Friday night Morgan is not set to name the Manhasset High School product her starter for the CAA season and will continue the competitive goalie battle that has existed thus far in 2010. “We’ll see how [Cuddihy] does tomorrow in practice,” said Morgan. “That is how day to day it is.”

Cuddihy received plenty of offensive help with Hofstra going on a 9-0 run after falling behind 1-0. Hofstra had four multi-goal scorers led by senior attacker Liz Falco with four, all in the second half. Senior attacker Corrine Gandolfi and freshman midfielder Jill Maier both registered hat-tricks and Ashley Jones continued her solid play in 2010 with two goals.

Friday night’s win was Hofstra’s second over a top 20 team with the other coming over then 20th ranked Rutgers on March 13 10-9 in overtime. Hofstra’s three losses all came by one goal to then eighth ranked Notre Dame 13-12, fourth ranked Penn 7-6 and 11th ranked Stanford 14-13 in overtime. Morgan said on the plane ride back from Stanford last week the message to the team was that the CAA represented a whole new season and opportunity. After winning the CAA title in Morgan’s first year as Hofstra head coach in 2007, the Pride have finished a game out of reaching the conference playoffs the last two years.

“It is the most competitive conference from top to bottom” said Morgan of the CAA, which features four teams ranked in the top 20.  “Everybody can beat you.”

Hofstra will next be tested in the CAA against Old Dominion on Sunday at 1 p.m. Last year Old Dominion knocked off Hofstra 14-9 on April 17 in the first of a Southern Virginia weekend sweep at the hands of the Monarchs and William & Mary that knocked the Pride out of postseason contention.

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