November 3, 2012
Hofstra men to host George Mason Monday
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. - The Hofstra men have earned the fourth seed in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament by going unbeaten in six of their last eight regular season games.
The Pride will look to sustain that momentum when it hosts fifth-seeded George Mason in the quarterfinals at Hofstra Soccer Stadium at 7 p.m. on Monday.
Hofstra (11-5-2, 5-4-1) will face Mason for the second time this season. The Pride defeated the Patriots, 3-1, on the road on Oct. 3.
Mason (11-6-1, 4-5-1) started the season strong, winning its first six games. The Patriots also won the conference opener by blanking North Carolina-Wilmington, 2-0. Towards the end of the season, the Patriots played second-place Northeastern to a scoreless draw on the road in the penultimate game before falling to Georgia State, 2-1, on the road in the regular season finale.
Mason's offense has averaged 1.89 goals per game, the second most in the conference behind Old Dominion. The Patriots qualified for the CAA tournament in part because of an attack that features two players among the CAA points leaders. Taylor Morgan leads the league in goals with 13 and is second in points with 26. Timmy Mulgrew is fifth with eight goals and five assists for 21 points.
Hofstra clinched the fourth seed and a home game in the quarterfinals with a 2-2 home draw against William and Mary on Friday. The Pride tied the score with just less than nine minutes to play on a William & Mary own goal.
The Pride also several offensive weapons. Sophomore Maid Memic has been a clutch player as the forward enters the tournament in the league's top-10 in shots, points, points-per-game and goals. Four of his team-leading eight goals have been game-winners, tying him for the fourth-most in the CAA. Memic is tied for sixth in total goals and has scored in two of the last four games.
Junior Chris Griebsch has been a big part of Memic's success along with freshman Joseph Holland and junior Tyler Botte. Griebsch followed a sophomore campaign in which he posted 10 assists by already reaching that total, which are four more than his closest CAA rival. As of Oct. 29, he was tied for eighth in assists in Division I. Griebsch also has scored four goals and has taken the majority of Hofstra's corner and free kicks, making Hofstra dangerous on set pieces.
Hofstra's defense remains a strength and will be looked upon by coach Richard Nuttall to stymie CAA player of the year candidate Morgan (six game-winning goals) and Mulgrew. Led by Shaun Foster - a two-time CAA defensive player of the year a strong candidate to pick up the award again this year - the Pride has held opponents to 21 goals in 18 games and shut out six teams.
Foster, Botte and senior A.J. Laza have provided a formidable backline with senior Stephan Barea continuing to embrace his new role as a defensive-oriented player after starting his career as a goal scorer. That support has helped senior Adam Janowski in his first season as the starting goalkeeper.
After taking over the injured Roberto Pellegrini, Janowski has thrived, going 8-4-1 and registering the first four shutouts of his career. He enters the tournaemnt with a .787 save percentage and a 1.20 goals-against-average.
Hofstra will make its first conference tournament appearance since the 2010 team advanced to the CAA championship game against William and Mary. The Pride has now qualified for six CAA Championships.
By earning the fourth seed, Hofstra will play the quarterfinals at home, where Nuttall's side went 6-2-1. The Pride is 6-9-2 in the all-time series against the Patriots in a series that dates to 1992. The Pride has won three of the last four games in the series.