Fall Snapshot: Hofstra Pride

(Photo Courtesy of Hofstra Athletics)

Welcome to the Fall Snapshot series. Throughout the fall I will be taking an early look at all 75 DI men’s college lacrosse teams and giving a snapshot of where each is heading into the 2023 season.

Head Coach: Seth Tierney (17th Season, 2007-Current)

Hofstra 2022 Record: 6-9 (2-3 CAA)

Key Departures: Dylan McIntosh (A), Bryan McIntosh (D)

Key Returners: Gerard Kane (A), Rory Jones (A/M), Corey Kale (SSDM), Tom Ford (D), Tim Hegarty (D), Mac Gates (G)

Transfer Additions: Colin DeGrassi (D, CCB Essex), Trevor Natalie (M, Jacksonville)

In 2021, Hofstra made the CAA title game for the first time since 2014 and thus got itself closer to making it back to the NCAA Tournament (something which hasn’t happened since 2011) for the first time since that aforementioned season. With the losses after that good 2021 year, many, including myself, didn’t expect Hofstra to be a CAA Tournament team in 2022. And it wasn’t.

Hofstra went 6-9 overall and 2-3 in CAA play last spring with those lone conference wins coming against eventual CAA champion and NCAA Quarterfinalist Delaware, and Towson.

After what could be called a season of growth many new faces emerging, Hofstra will be wanting to get back to the postseason and challenging for the CAA crown. And in 2023, the Pride will be looking to do so in a different looking CAA as UMass has left while Monmouth, Stony Brook, and Hampton join.

Read: Hofstra 2023 Schedule Breakdown

Burning Questions

How Big of a Step Forward Can The Offense Take?

After losing all but a few key playmakers from an offense in 2021 that averaged 13 goals per game (21st best in DI), the Pride saw a number of new faces step up and into new roles on that end last spring. The result of that greenish offense was an expected production drop from the year prior. Hofstra had the nation’s 57th best scoring offense (10 goals per game) while ranking 51s and 66th in offensive efficiency and offensive pacing, per Lacrosse Reference.

Concerning the Pride’s offense, the situation is the complete opposite of what it was this time last year. Hofstra is coming off a season with a unit that was pretty average and returns nearly everybody from that group. Chief among those returners is sophomore attackman Gerard Kane. The Peach State native led the Pride’s offense last season with 38 points off 23 goals and 15 assists as a redshirt freshman. 2022 CAA All-Rookie selection Rory Jones (20G/8A) also returns, as well as graduate student Matt Elder (11G/13A) and senior Justin Sykes (14G/3A). Those players were the third, fourth, and fifth leading scorers for the Pride last spring.

With all but one of its top five scorers returning from a year ago, and considering the youth and inexperience of last year’s group, improvement should be expected from the Hofstra offense in 2023. The question remains, however, just how much growth will be seen and will it be enough to help take this Pride team back to the postseason?

What is The Faceoff Situation?

Last spring, Hofstra went 44.7% at the faceoff dot as a team and ended the year ranked 58th nationally in team faceoff win percentage. That overall performance from Hofstra last season was a significant drop from the season prior where it went 63.7% at the dot as a team and ranked eighth nationally in team faceoff win percentage.

Brian Herber went going 192-for-302 (63.6%) as the primary option in 2021. As a graduate student in 2022, he went 64-for-152 (42%) percent taking the second most draws. Chase Patterson went 91-for-195 (46%) as the primary option. Additionally, Benjamin Niesman saw action in five games and went 10-for-22 (45.5%) as a reserve at the position.

Patterson returns as a senior in 2023 while Niesman is a redshirt sophomore. Freshman Cole Myers is also on the roster as a faceoff man. No matter who gets that starting nod, the faceoff dot is one of the key areas where the Pride need to improve the most this coming spring.

Can The Hofstra Man-Up Offense Improve?

The one area where Hofstra was weakest in last season was their man-up offense. The Pride had 27 such opportunities over the course of the 2022 season and were only able to convert on five of those opportunities, giving the Pride an 18.5% success rate. Hofstra ended the year as the fourth-worst man-up offense in DI.

Of those five man-up conversions, two were cashed in by Gerard Kane. Returners Justin Sykes and Rory Jones each found the back of the net once on man-up offense.

Coming into the 2023 season, man-up offense is an area in which the Pride will very much want to improve. And one where improvement could help them get back to the postseason.

Potential Breakout Player

Griffin Turner, Midfield, Junior

An MCLA transfer from TCU that came in ahead of last season, Turner played in all 14 games and saw three starts during the 2022 season. Two of those starts came in the Pride’s final two games of the season. That included a game against UMass in which he had his best day of the year, scoring two goals and dishing out two assists. He had a hat trick against Sacred Heart in a February game.

Freshman Class

With its 2022 recruiting efforts, Hofstra brings in 12-man freshman class that features players from nine different states.

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