Philadelphipa, PA – The Hofstra Pride overcame a late 9-7 deficit to steal an overtime thriller from the Drexel Dragons, 10-9. Down by two with 1:18 left in the game, Hofstra showed their true character as they took advantage of opportunities and forced overtime. In overtime, they came up with the looseball on the faceoff and pushed it inoto a fastbreak. They only needed 11 seconds in overtime to capture the CAA Championship and silence the Drexel faithful. Drexel had a balanced scoring day with eleven players involved in creating their nine goals. Hofstra was led Anthony Muscarella’s four goals and an assist, and three point efforts by Jay Card, Mike Unterstein and Michael Colleluori.
Drexel and Hofstra are working on building a nice, passionate rivalry. Their last three meetings over the last two years have been decided by a total of three goals. Both of this year’s games needed overtime to determine a winner, the first contest was a double overtime affair on March 29th. That rivalry was evident as both teams left it all out on the field. The game was up-and-down for both teams. Hofstra finished strong and ended even stronger, while Drexel basically controlled everything in between.
Hofstra came out of the gates strong and grabbed a 2-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Pride stretched it to a 4-1 lead in the second quarter on a goal by Mike Unterstein, who was named the MVP of the CAA Tournament. Unterstein’s goal made the Dragons wake up. They exploded for three goals in under a minute and a half to tie it at four. Michael Colleluori would give the Pride one more goal before the end of the half with 43 seconds left. Hofstra regained possession, but Drexel’s Bruce Bickford made the save and hit Kevin Dart on an outlet pass. Dart took it the length of the field and squeezed a shot just past Hofstra sophomore goalie Danny Orlando with just one second left in the half to knot it at five.
As was evidenced throughout the game, the CAA got it right when they handed out their annual awards. Drexel’s Bickford was named CAA Player of the Year and played like it with his 12 saves on the day. Hofstra’s Orlando also made 12 saves in the winning effort. Midfielder Kevin Unterstein might not have left the field for Hofstra today. He was the CAA Defensive Player of the Year today and with his six groundballs he was all over the field for the Pride.
The second half would prove to be as dramatic as the first. Hofstra went up 6-5 on a man-up goal to have Drexel score two in a row and take a 7-6 lead into the fourth quarter. Michael Unterstein completed his hat trick on the day to knot the game at seven. Then Drexel responded with two goals 12 seconds apart for a 9-7 lead. The Dragons would control the ball for a substantial portion of the rest of the quarter, but couldn’t find the back of the net again. This left the door open for the dramatic Hofstra comeback.
Down two, Hofstra took their goalie out of the net to double the ball and force an overtime. This led to the possession that would give Anthony Muscarella the ball and the tying goal with 1:18 left. Hofstra’s Joe Montemurro won the next faceoff and carried it into the offensive side for a quick timeout. Off the timeout, Bickford came up with a save but couldn’t control the rebound. The ball hung just a few yards above the crease as Hofstra and Drexel players fought for it. Bickford appeared to think he could get it so he went out for it, but the ball wound up in Dan Stein’s stick who shot with basically an open net and tied the game with 51 seconds left.
Drexel’s Ryan West won the next faceoff and the Dragons used their own timeout. With the ball and a chance to win, Drexel settled into their offense. A forced weak bounce shot was easily saved by Orlando who pushed it forward into transition. Bickford again came up with a save, this time to force overtime.
To start the extra period, the refs might have missed a key call on the faceoff. As Ryan West and Joe Montemurro were battling for the ball, Montermurro had his stick dislodged from his hand. In his attempts to pickup his stick, he managed to get in West’s way enough that he couldn’t come up with the looseball. And it seemed that the refs chose to treat this as a judgment call as incidental that he was trying to get his stick rather than intentionally getting in their way and playing without his stick. This enabled Hofstra longpole Steven Prifte to pick up the looseball and push it into transition. This led to Jay Card finding Tom Dooley open on the backside for the lefty winner just 11 seconds into overtime.
The win was an emotional one for Hofstra as they celebrated with the legacy of Nick Colleluori still a huge part of what Hofstra lacrosse is all about. Drexel was also rumored to have dedicated the game to Nick. Pretty much every player on the team was sporting the HeadStrong laces (http://headstrongfoundation.org/cms/) in support of the HeadSrong Foundation.
It was without question an emotional loss for Drexel. Now they play the waiting game for one of the remaining nine at-large spots for the NCAA tournament. The eleventh-ranked Dragons are in good position for one of the last spots, but would have preferred a guaranteed pass.
From Press Release…
Philadelphia – Hofstra came out on top of Drexel 10-9 in overtime of the CAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship Final. The contest was the second overtime game for the squads in as many meetings this season. The Pride rallied from a two-goal deficit, down 9-7, with 1:18 remaining in the game. Thomas Dooley scored the game-winner for Hofstra just 11 seconds into overtime to give the Pride a 10-9 victory and their second Colonial Athletic Association Championship.
Anthony Muscarella scored four goals for Hofstra and Kevin Unterstein, who was named Player of the Tournament, scored three times for the Pride. Colin Ambler and Scott Perri scored two goals apiece for the Dragons. Hofstra outshot Drexel 39-31 overall. The Dragons won 14 of 22 face offs and picked up 31 grounders to Hofstra’s 27.
Trailing 9-7 the Pride pulled its goalie in the final two minutes of the game to gain an extra attacker. It paid off with a goal by Muscarella with 1:18 in the game on a shot over his shoulder to the left side of the net as he cut to the right.
The Pride came up with a big ground ball off the ensuing draw as Joseph Motemurro scooped up the faceoff and sprinted to the sideline for a timeout. Off the offensive set Hofstra got a quick shot by Muscarella from five yards out that was saved by Bickford, his third in the final five minutes of the period. The ball came loose on the ground but Dan Stein picked it up and finished it off for the tying goal.
Ryan West won the ensuing draw for Drexel and the Dragons got a timeout with 43 seconds left. A bouncing shot by Van Houten was picked up by Orlando and sent into transition by the Pride’s attack. Steve DeNapoli fed Jay Card on the left side but his close-range shot was saved by Bickford in the final seconds to send the game into overtime for the second time in as many meetings between the teams.
Bickford, the CAA Player of the Year, and the Drexel defense served Hofstra early notice that they were in for a low-scoring struggle in the CAA Championship Final. Bickford, who stymied the Pride with a highlight-reel save in overtime of the team’s last meeting, made five stops in the opening period of the final game. The Pride held a slim 2-0 lead after the first period, but did not score until the 3:54 mark in the quarter. Anthony Muscarella tacked on a second tally with just under two minutes left on a close-range blast on the right side of the crease.
Drexel got on the board early in the second quarter on a goal by Colin Ambler from the left side to make it a 3-1 game. Hofstra went up 4-1 on another close goal by Mike Unterstein early in the second quarter. But Drexel answered with a run of three goals in less than a minute and a half to knot the score at 4-4. Ron Garling started the run with a man-up goal after a pushing penalty. Ambler notched his second tally of the evening 27 seconds later. Steve Grossi picked up a ground ball after a scramble and quickly fed Greg Casey for a fast break. Casey flicked it to Ambler who made it a 4-3 game at the 4:11 mark. Joe Wojciechowski threw in the tying goal with 3:06 on the clock resulting in a Hofstra timeout. The Pride went back up 5-4 on a Michael Colleluori goal with 43 seconds left but the Dragons weren’t finished.
Kevin Dart cradled the ball down field as time ticked down. He crossed midfield with five seconds left and launched himself to forward to get open while flinging the ball from over the upper right side of the goalie’s shoulder to tie the game at 5-5 with one second left in the half.
Hofstra outshot Drexel 22-15 in the first half but Bickford made up the difference in saves edging Danny Orlando 8-5 in stops in net. Drexel won 7-of-11 faceoffs and converted the only man-up opportunity of the half.
Both teams converted man-up opportunities in the third period. Hofstra struck first just under four minutes into the period to go ahead 6-5. Scott Perri evened it with a quick spin move on the left side to beat Orlando high and make it a 6-6 game. The Dragons took their first lead of the game on their second extra-man opportunity of the game. Kevin Stockel carried the ball into the middle and faked a pass before feeding a cutting Greg Casey who faked another pass to get open and placed his shot in the upper right side of the net to put his team on top 7-6 with 5:10 remaining in the quarter.
Unterstein brought Hofsta back to a draw with goal from straight on about five yards out, his third tally of the game which made it a 7-7 game. Drexel surged back with two goals in 12 seconds starting with a Perri diving shot from close range at the 12:52 mark. Perri’s second of the game made it 8-7 and was rapidly followed by Dennis Murray score on a shot from 10 yards out that found its way through traffic and into the net. The Dragons killed off three straight man-down situations including two in the fourth quarter to preserve their 9-7 advantage.
Michael Colleluori, Collin Stabler, Joseph Montemurro and Jack Vivonetto joined Unterstein on the All-Tournament Team. Defender Steve Grossi, attackman Colin Ambler and goalie Bruce Bickford were Drexel’s representatives on the teams.
|Scott Perri||(2, 1)|
|Colin Ambler||(2, 0)|
|Greg Casey||(1, 1)|
|Joe Wojciechowski||(1, 0)|
|Kevin Dart||(1, 0)|
|Ron Garling||(1, 0)|
|Ryan West||(0, 1)|
|Jon Van Houten||(0, 1)|
|Dennis Murray||(1, 0)|
|Brian Neary||(0, 1)|
|Kevin Stockel||(0, 1)|
|Bruce Bickford||12 (0.545)|