Former Hofstra star lacrosse player Nicky Polanco to appear on hit MTV series

Former Hofstra men's lacrosse star defenseman Nicky Polanco will get some national exposure this week when he makes an appearance on the hit MTV series “Made.”

In the episode that premiers on Sept. 29 at 4 p.m., Polanco, a 2002 Hofstra graduate and current Long Island Lizards defenseman, serves as a coach for a Long Island teenager who wanted to make her high school lacrosse team. A sneak peak of Polanco’s MTV appearance can be found on the network’s website.

Polanco, who helped lead Hofstra to the NCAA Quarterfinals in 2001, has played in Major League Lacrosse the last nine years including the past six seasons with the Lizards. The Rockville Centre native and Oceanside High School product was named to the Major League Lacrosse (MLL) 10-Year Anniversary Team in August.


Longtime Hofstra athletics administrator Cindy Lewis proud to see growth of women's sports since her playing days

 Courtesy Hofstra Athletic Communications
In the mid to late 1970’s when Hofstra’s Senior Associate Director of Athletics Cindy Lewis played field hockey and lacrosse at Berner High School in Massapequa, N.Y. and then for Hofstra, the climate of female sports was a very different story from where it is today. Lewis’s playing career came in the midst of America’s groundbreaking Title IX legislation being implemented, to ensure that female athletes had the same opportunities as their male counterparts, and the longtime Hofstra athletics administrator recalls how slow a process this was.

Today Lewis is happy to see that female athletics is thriving at Hofstra and throughout the country, and that the early days of Title IX’s implementation are becoming more and more distant. On Sept. 20 Lewis was honored at the 22nd annual Hofstra Pride Golf Classic and Auction for her 30 years of dedicated service to Hofstra’s athletics program, which has included helping to position the  women’s sports programs to be able to compete at the highest level. The golf classic is Hofstra’s signature fundraising event for the university’s athletics department, and this year in honor of Lewis the proceeds were used to benefit the school’s Women’s Athletic Fund. 


Nikki Kinnier battles back from injury to be key leader of Hofstra volleyball team

Courtesy Hofstra Athletic Communications
After suffering a season-ending stress facture injury last year only six matches into her college volleyball career, Hofstra freshman outside hitter Nikki Kinnier immediately became determined to return to the court. Following many months of extensive rehab Kinnier is back in full force this fall and as only a red-shirt freshman has become one of Hofstra volleyball’s key leaders on and off the court.

In four of Hofstra’s first 16 matches Kinnier has posted double digits in both kills and digs. In the Pride’s three-game sweep of Fairfield on Wednesday night Sept. 22 at the Mack Sports complex, Kinnier recorded 13 kills and 12 digs.

“She keeps trying to get better and trying to take on this bigger role and bigger responsibility,” said Hofstra volleyball head coach Kristina Hernandez. “She is a tough competitor."


Hofstra field hockey team confident heading into CAA play

Fresh off a 6-0 romp of Siena Sunday, the Hofstra field hockey team is sky high with confidence as it gets sets for Friday afternoon's Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) opener at 14th ranked Drexel.

After losing the first two games to Boston University and Albany, the Pride (5-3) have won five of six including back-to-back shutouts of Fairfield and Siena this past weekend. "Our confidence is very high right now," said Hofstra field hockey head coach Kathy De Angelis. "We do know that we are coming to a team [Drexel] that is one of the top teams in the country and we feel that our performance in the past eight games has prepared us for this coming day."

With All-CAA midfielder Amy-Lee Levey red-shirting this year due to injury, other Pride players have stepped up on offense led by junior Genna Kovar (22 points), Krizia Layne (16 points) and Arielle Williams (13 points). "We're all stepping up and coming together as a team," said Kovar, who earned third-team All-American accolades last year.

Hofstra’s CAA opener at Drexel starts at 4 p.m. Friday Sept. 24 followed by a Sunday road tilt at Ivy League power Yale. Following conference road games next weekend at 17th ranked James Madison and Virginia Commonwealth, the Pride return to the friendly confines of Hofstra Field Hockey Stadium versus William & Mary and Old Dominion on Oct. 8 and 10th.


A time to reflect on greatest teams, games and individuals in Hofstra athletics history

As Hofstra celebrates its 75th anniversary starting this coming weekend, the Pride athletics program is urging people to vote on the top 25 teams, players and games in the university's history.  

Since being founded in 1935 Hofstra has enjoyed stellar success in a variety of men's and women’s sports, and pinpointing the top games, teams and individuals is certainly no easy task.  I have been following Hofstra sports very closely since first becoming a member of the university family as a freshman in the fall of 1998, and have included just a tiny portion of my choices in this voting and reasons behind these decisions. I limited my choices to the 12 years I have been following Hofstra sports, but obviously there are many more from prior years that also needs to be supported by fans before voting concludes on Sept. 23.
Greatest Team Category:
  • 2000 and 2001 men's basketball: Both these teams, who captured the American East title and automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament, are no brainers. Hofstra had a backcourt of two future NBA players in Craig "Speedy" Claxton and Norman Richardson on the 2000 team and in both years the American East title was won at home before a live ESPN audience
  • 2004 softball: The 2004 Hofstra softball team (38-21) did not dominate the regular season record wise but more than made up for this in the post-season with a magical NCAA Tournament run that left the Pride just one win shy of reaching the College World Series.  
  • 1999 men's lacrosse: The 1999 men's lacrosse (13-3) team showed plenty of toughness on and off the field rebounding from an 0-2 start to win 13 in a row on the way to the NCAA Quarterfinals. Two weeks after pulling off a dramatic comeback win over second ranked Johns Hopkins, Hofstra battled that same Blue Jays team hard before falling 11-7 before a Shuart Stadium record crowd of 12,222 in the NCAA Quarterfinals.


Hofstra women's soccer Big Ten Sweep could play major dividends come November

Fresh off a Big Ten road sweep of Purdue and Indiana this past weekend, Hofstra women’s soccer head coach Simon Riddiough is hopeful that these two signature wins will play major dividends toward the Pride’s goals of reaching the NCAA Tournament.

Hofstra earned a pair of 3-1 wins over the Big Ten powers Friday and Saturday night, which will give the Pride a major boost in the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) rankings, an important factor used to determine who received at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament in November. Riddiough expects both Indiana and Purdue to be in the top 50 RPI this season and feels wins over both of these teams will go a long way toward boosting Hofstra’s NCAA Tournament at-large resume should the Pride not capture the Colonial Athletic Association’s (CAA) automatic bid.

Riddiough described this past weekend as the biggest regular season moment for the Hofstra women’s soccer program, which started in 1992. “From a national perspective, from a tradition perspective, from a reputation perspective I think it is the best weekend we have ever had,” said Riddiough. “The girls put everything into it emotionally and physically."

While jubilant on the plane ride back to New York over what the Pride had accomplished, many of the players were also exhausted both physically and mentally, according to Riddiough. He gave them Monday off and work will now begin on preparation for Hofstra’s next game at Columbia this Friday night. Riddiough does not expect there to be a letdown

“Fortunately this is a local rivalry,” said Riddiough. “Hopefully that is enough to get us motivated.”


Former Hofstra men's lacrosse All American James Metzger to be honored for his charitable contributions

 Courtesy Hofstra Athletic Communications
In recent years former standout Hofstra men’s lacrosse player James Metzger has made significant contributions to Pride athletics including gifts that enabled locker room facility enhancements and the creation of The Hallway Traditions Project in Margiotta Hall. The former NCAA All American attackman will be recognized for his charitable work beyond Hofstra later this month when he will be one of two honorees at the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island (BBBSLI) 2010 Presidential Gala.

Metzger, who is chief executive officer of The Whitmore Group in Garden City, N.Y., was first introduced to BBBSLI by former Hofstra men’s lacrosse players E. David Woycik and Mark Cox, the chief development officer for the charitable organization. Metzger along with fellow Hofstra alumnus Andrew F. Corrado, who is market president for Capital One Bank in Nassau County, will be honorees at the BBBSLI’s Presidential Gala on Sept. 23 at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury, N.Y. BBBSLI provides volunteer mentors to children who are in need of an additional positive, caring adult in their lives.

“Long Island has given me so much and I felt it was time that I give back,” said Metzger, a graduate of Half Hollow Hills High School in Dix Hills, N.Y. and a 1983 Hofstra alumnus, of his decision to become involved with BBBSLI. “It is compelling for me to be involved with this charity.”

Metzger now lives in Manhattan but Long Island has remained a huge cornerstone of his life, and running a company in Garden City has enabled convenient access to his passion for Hofstra athletics and the university as a whole. In addition to his contributions to Pride athletics Metzger also has funded a summer internship within the university's Center for Civic Engagement in honor of longtime Hofstra History Professor Michael D’Innocenzo. Metzger was also a platinum sponsor for an event this past February that raised funds for Hofstra student scholarships called “Night of the Broadway Stars”, which honored his former high school and college lacrosse teammate Joseph Corcoran, co-founder of TheaterMania.com.

“My time at Hofstra was invaluable,” said Metzger of why he has chosen to give so much back to his alma mater. “I attribute a great deal of my success in business to my athletic background, particularly the time I spent playing lacrosse at Hofstra.”

“Jim Metzger’s leadership and generosity have been instrumental to our athletics program,” said Hofstra Athletic Director Jack Hayes. “He cares about the student-athletes and he knows that athletic success is an important public relations tool for promoting the University.”

One major regret Metzger has is that he only played two years of lacrosse at Hofstra. After his All-American sophomore season in 1980, where he scored 21 goals and tallied 28 assists in just 10 games, Metzger decided to end his lacrosse career. As the years went on Metzger wished he had played his final two years at Hofstra and often speaks to young athletes about how they should make the most of their opportunities when they are young.

“As a 50-year old guy I’d love to have that eligibility back,” he said.

After giving up the sport he grew up with following the 1980 season, Metzger went the next 25 years without even watching a lacrosse game of any kind. He then got brought back into following the sport thanks to the resurgence of his nephew Rob Pannell, who was an All American at Smithtown West High School and is now a star attackman at Cornell. Metzger is now an avid follower of both the Hofstra men's and women's lacrosse programs and attends nearly every home game.

Since becoming heavily involved supporting his alma mater Metzger has developed close relationships with Hayes and Hofstra men’s lacrosse head coach Seth Tierney, who will both be attending the Sept. 23 BBBSLI event honoring him. Metzger is proud of the recent accomplishments Hofstra has seen both on and off the field and is excited to see even greater strides in the coming years.

“I look forward to the continued growth of the university and the continued enhancement of the brand,” said Metzger. “I’m a proud alumnus and I’ll continue to support the university in a number of ways.”