UMass scored the last six goals of the game, with the winner coming on a nice crease feed from Sean Morris to Jim Connolly (his fifth of the day). Hofstra held a 10-5 lead in the 4th on the strong play of Chris Unterstein and close defenseman Sean McCarthy. Oustanding game from UMass longstick Jake Deane, who dominated the faceoff X when it counted -- reeling off a series of possessions in the 4th.
UMass will now be playing in its first ever Final Four.
Stony Brook, NY --
Jim Connolly scored his fifth goal of the game 2:07 into the first overtime to cap a six goal rally and give the Minutemen of Massachusetts an 11-10 overtime victory over the third-seed Pride of Hofstra in the NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Northern Quarterfinal game at LaValle Stadium at Stony Brook University Saturday.
The victory sends the Minutemen (12-4) into the national semifinals in Philadelphia next Saturday against tomorrow's winner of the Southern Quarterfinal between second-seed Maryland and Princeton. Hofstra, which tied the NCAA Division I single season victory record with 17 wins, closed out the season with a 17-2 mark.
The Pride controlled play during the first 51 minutes of the contest and led 10-5 following senior John Keysor's goal with 9:46 to play in regulation. That's when the Minutemen started the charge to their first national semifinal appearance. Senior Jamie Yamen started off the comeback with a bullet over the shoulder of Pride goalie Matt Southard (10 saves) with 8:03 to play in the fourth. Less than a minute later Sean Morris, who tallied 28 goals coming into the game, scored his second of the game and 30th of the season, coming around the cage and beating Southard to cut the deficit to 10-7. Connolly scored his fourth of the game 58 seconds later from a sharp angle, off a pass from Clay Stabert, to close to within two at 10-8.
Junior middie Andrew Reccione scored on a perfect feed from Rory Pedrick in front of the goal to close to within one at 10-9 with 4:14 to play in regulation. The Pride had chances to run some time off the clock in the final minutes but turned the ball over several times leading up the Pedrick's game-tying goal, beating Southard high, with 49 seconds remaining in regulation.
The Pride made things interesting heading into overtime by taking a cross-check penalty with 16 seconds remaining in regulation. Hofstra killed off the first 16 seconds of the penalty at the end of the fourth quarter and then the remaining 44 seconds in the overtime before getting the first big chance. Mike Unterstein fired a low bullet at UMass goalie Doc Schneider, who made a foot save, the last of eight in the game for the freshman from Long Island.
Getting the ball back after a timeout, the Minutemen brought the ball down the sideline before junior Brett Garber fed a crossing Connolly, who beat Southard from in front for the game-winner.
"It's obvious that,the last nine minutes, we broke down all over the field," Hofstra Coach John Danowski said. "It wasn't any one thing. I thought we lost our poise. But you have to tip your hat to UMass. Their kids were very poised and made some plays."
The Pride enjoyed the first 51 minutes, playing aggressively on defense and with patience and poise on offense. Hofstra scored the first three goals of the game as Tim Treubig, Chris Unterstein and Mike Unterstein tallied unassisted goals in the first 12:10 of the contest. But UMass came back and scored twice in the final 1:49 as Clay Stabert scored off a pass from Sean Morris and Connolly scored after picking up a loose ball with the goalie out of the cage and bouncing a shot into the net as he was falling down to close the gap to 3-2 entering the second quarter.
Hofstra scored three unanswered goals in the first 6:10 of the second to build a 6-2 lead as Chris Unterstein scored 17 seconds into the period and again 39 seconds later to complete the hat-trick while Mike Unterstein tallied his second of the game and 13th of the year with 8:50 to play in the half. Chris Unterstein's thid goal of the game was the most costly as the senior Tewaaraton Trophy finalist suffered a mild head injury after being hit on the shot. He would sit out the rest of the second and return in the third. But he clearly was not at 100 percent.
UMass scored twoice more before the end of the half as Brian Jacovina set up both Sean Morris and Jim Connolly to close the gap to 6-4. Hofstra senior Tim Treubig sent the Pride to the locker room at halftime with a 7-4 lead with his second of the game and 19th of the season with 2:19 to play in the second.
In the third, Connolly tallied his third of the game and 17th of the year 15 seconds in right off the face-off to close the Minutmen deficit to 7-5. But Hofstra once again scored three unanswered goals as freshman Tom Dooley scored, his 38th of the year, an unassisted goal off a rebound in front of the cage with 8:07 in the period, Chris Unterstein scored coming around the back of the cage 1:19 later, and John Keysor scored on a bounce shot 5:14 into the fourth quarter for his 23rd of the year to give the Pride a 10-5 advantage and setting up UMass' rally.
"We didn't play the last nine minutes like we played the first 51," Danowski said. "I told our guys all week that this would be a one-goal game. I thought we didn't make some of the plays in the first 45 minutes that could have even increased our lead,"
Except for a huge disparity in face-offs (20-5 UMass), the statistics in the game were relatively equal. Hofstra had a 31-30 shot advantage while UMass held a 32-28 advantage in ground balls.
The Pride loss ends the greatest season in Hofstra lacrosse history. Although the team went to the NCAA quarterfinals three previous times, the 17 victories could be a mark that will last for decades. When asked by reporters after the game where this loss ranks in heart-breakers, Danowski was candid but cleared the picture. "This (loss ranks) is right up there," Danowski stated. "It hurts. But I am most saddened because I won't get to spend another week with these kids because they have been wonderful."
Hofstra vs. Massachusetts