Hempstead, N.Y. - After playing four of the last six games on the road, Hofstra will try and capitalize on home-field advantage starting on Wednesday with a 7 p.m. contest against Drexel at Hofstra Soccer Stadium.
The Pride will close the regular season with three straight games at home. Head coach Richard Nuttall's team is hoping the familiar surroundings will help his club expand on its 5-1 start in Hempstead in which the Pride has out-scored teams, 10-6.
Overall, Hofstra is 10-4-1 and 4-3 against the Colonial Athletic Association, putting the team in fourth place with 12 points with the top-six schools qualifying for the CAA Tournament. Hofstra can enhance its postseason credentials with a strong showing against a Drexel squad that is 10-3-2 overall and 6-1-1 (19 points) in conference play, tying Northeastern for the most points in the league.
After getting a crack at one first-place team last week at Northeastern, the Pride will now face the other squad that is off to a hot start versus league competition. Drexel is unbeaten in the last five games, going 4-0-1 during that stretch. Defensively, the Dragons are one of just three teams in the conference with a goals-against-average of less than one (0.89).
The Dragons also have offensive threats to take advantage of the tight defense. Junior midfielder Nathan Page is tied for fourth in the league with eight goals, giving the contest an intriguing matchup as Hofstra sophomore Maid Memic (Kozarac, Bosnia) is right behind with seven goals. Drexel also has a play-making sophomore in forward Fabio Machado, who has a team-leading five assists.
The series dates to 1962, making Drexel the most frequently played opponent in Hofstra's history. The Pride is Hofstra is 14-21-7 in the all-time series.
Hofstra's defense has been sharp with the Pride blanking opponents in three of the last four games, with the only goal in that span coming in double overtime on the road against the first-place Huskies. Entering the week, Hofstra has not allowed a goal in regulation in the last 391:49 dating to a second-half goal allowed in a 3-1 win at George Mason on Oct. 3.
Senior goalkeeper Adam Janowski (Coram, N.Y.) is 7-3 since taking over the injured Roberto Pellegrini (Rome, Italy). Janowski has recorded the first three shutouts of his career this month after appearing in just two total games in net during his first four seasons on the roster.
Before Hofstra plays Drexel, the Pride's women's soccer program will face Northeastern in a key CAA clash at 3:30 p.m. Both the men's and women's teams are hosting Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Awareness Day. One ticket will be good for both contests.
All fans are encouraged to wear pink and teal to promote awareness. There will be giveaway and prizes. To purchase tickets for the day, call the Hofstra Athletics Ticket Office at (516) HOF-TIXX (463-8499) or order online by clicking here. Use code "HBOC" when ordering to receive $5 tickets. To view the flyer, click here.
The road doesn't get much easier for Hofstra on Saturday when No. 8 Old Dominion comes to New York for a 7 p.m. showdown.
Hofstra is 7-7-2 in the all-time series against the Monarchs. The first meeting in the all-time series was in 1992. Hofstra is 2-1-1 in the last four meetings, though the Monarchs won last year's meeting when then-No. 11 ODU posted a 4-1 home victory.
Old Dominion has earned a top-10 ranking from the NSCAA, entering the week No. 8 after going unbeaten in five of the last six games. The Monarchs, which advanced to last year's CAA championship game against Delaware, is 9-2-2 and 3-2-2 in conference play. Hofstra's last victory against a ranked opponent came in the season finale last year when the Pride defeated No. 12 James Madison, 3-0, at home.
Hofstra's defense, led by juniors Shaun Foster (Southport, England) and Tyler Botte (North Babylon, N.Y.) and seniorA.J. Laza (Coram, N.Y.) will face another strong test in Old Dominion junior Tim Hopkinson, who has a 24 points for a 1.85 points-per-game average, marking the second-highest in the league in both categories.
The Monarchs have three players in the CAA's top-10 points leaderboard, with seniors Chris Harmon and Yannick Smith also on the list.
Hofstra will counter with a talented front line of Memic and junior Chris Griebsch, (Dessau-Rosslau, Germany) who has contributed to 12 of Hofstra's 27 goals this season, posting four goals and eight assists to stand just two points behind Memic for the team lead in points by tallying 16.
Hofstra has already clinched Nuttall's first 10-win season since 2006.