Hofstra aims for conference tournament


After just missing out on reaching its postseason conference tournament for a second straight year, the Hofstra men’s lacrosse team is sharply focused on extending its 2024 season into the month of May.

The Pride entered the final season game against Stony Brook in a win or go home scenario and fell 11-10 to its Long Island rivals and missed out on a tiebreaker for the final spot in the four-team league tournament to compete for an automatic qualifier into the NCAA Tournament. The Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) preseason coaches poll projects Hofstra to finish fifth in the eight-team conference, which would leave Hofstra just shy once again of the postseason.

“After losing the tiebreaker two years in a row it doesn't sit well with us,” said longtime Hofstra head coach Seth Tierney. 

Hofstra enters the start of CAA play this weekend at 3-4 following a 21-9 loss to 18th-ranked North Carolina at home last Saturday in the program’s first meeting with the ACC power since 2018.

Junior attackman John Madsen (21 goals) and redshirt junior midfielder Rory Jones (16 goals) have paced the offense so far this season. Madsen, a Locust Valley High School graduate, tallied 27 points as a junior, while Jones neatly set a program record for goals in a game with eight in a season-opening 21-9 win against Wagner. 

Madsen and Jones lead a deep Hofstra offense featuring multiple scoring options including Colton Rudd, Griffin Turner and Justin Sykes. 

A key part of assuring Hofstra is in the offensive end of the field for much of the game is the play of graduate student faceoff specialist Chase Patterson, who earned preseason All-CAA honors. Patterson led the CAA in faceoff winning percentage at 59.5 percent last year and is at 60 percent through seven games this season. 

“He's been very self motivated and won some big face offs for us,” said Tierney of Patterson. “He very much thinks like a coach as even after a successful game he finds the negatives, he finds the ones that he missed and he continues to work each week to miss less and less.”

The defense is led by redshirt sophomore goalie Sean Henderson, who recorded 19 saves in a 17-13 victory against St. John’s on Feb. 13. Graduate student goalie Max May, a Hewlett High School product who previously played goalie at Muhlenberg College, serves as a solid backup behind Henderson and tallied three saves at the end of the Wagner game.

“They push each other every day in practice and no one can take a day off,”: said Tierney of his two top goalies. “Right now we are staying with what we're staying with, but Max is right there ready to go to help the team when necessary.” 

The starting defense in front of Henderson features Henry Troy, Will Delaney and Blake Cooling. Graduate student long stick defensive midfielder is also a key component of the defense and earned All-CAA preseason accolades after playing 14 games at North Carolina last season.  

The Hofstra defensive unit also features two local players in redshirt sophomore Ryan Kiernan, a Rockville Centre native and Chaminade graduate, along with junior short-stick defensive midfielder Chris Barry, an East Meadow High School alum. 

The CAA season kicks off Saturday at Fairfield followed by a March 23 road trip to two-time defending champion Delaware. The conference home opener is set for March 30 against Monmouth at 1 p.m. 

Hofstra’s late season schedule also includes an April 16 non-league game against Yale at 7 p.m., which will mark the program’s first meeting with the Ivy League school since 1995.

“They are a tremendous team with a lot of talent,” said Tierney of Yale. “It is another opportunity to sharpen our swords against a quality opponent.”