Hofstra men’s lacrosse head coach Seth Tierney will be taking in the Final Four in Baltimore Saturday and after guiding the Pride to four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances he hopes to soon to be coaching on Memorial Day weekend.
This season Tierney became the first Hofstra men’s lacrosse coach to lead the program to the NCAAs four straight years. Like the previous three attempts Hofstra, fell in the first round to a tough opponent on the road and Tierney is hopeful that going forward the Pride can continue its tourney streak and position themselves with a better opening draw perhaps in the comforts of Shuart Stadium.
“With one milestone becomes another goal that we would like to start to reach but one thing that has been a little bit difficult at times is the draw when we get in the tournament,” said Tierney. “Part of the formula to see if you can get to the next round is to get the highest possible seed going into the tournament itself.”
Hofstra’s four straight opening round tournament loss this year was a 12-5 setback at Johns Hopkins on May 14. The previous three NCAA Tournament losses were on the road to Maryland, Cornell and Johns Hopkins, all storied programs.
One aspect that could enhance Hofstra’s prospects of earning a more manageable first round NCAA Tournament game is boosting its strength of schedule, which should happen next year with the additions of powerhouse programs Notre Dame and North Carolina as non-conference opponents. Hofstra will also retain Princeton and Harvard on the schedule next year, both teams that will have strong potential for successful 2012 seasons.
In order to make a fifth straight NCAA Tournament appearance the Pride will need do so without its entire starting attack unit of seniors Jay Card, Jaime Lincoln and Stephen Bentz. Hofstra also loses defensive midfielders Steven DeNapoli and Tim Holman along with defensemen Mike Skudin and Adam Mojica.
Tierney said he would explore utilizing midfielder Kevin Ford on attack next year along with Mike DeNapoli, Torin Varn and Adrian Sorichetti and Lance Yapor, who came on strong at the end of the 2011 season. Tierney is also hopeful that midfielder Ian Braddish can continue the rapid improvement he displayed throughout 2011 as a lethal dodger and a major focal point of the Pride offense. There is also some hope that graduate student and Lafayette transfer Steven Serling could be back in the midfield next year after suffering a season-ending spleen injury against Harvard
On the defensive end of the field Tierney will have the luxury next year of having a senior goalie for the first time since taking over at Hofstra five years ago when Andrew Gvozden patrols the cage after a stellar junior campaign.
“We’re excited for 2012 and what we’re going to look like,” said Tierney. “We’re going to look a little different but different can be good."