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Hofstra Rolls to 3-0 Win Over Farleigh Dickinson

Published: oncampuspsorts.com October 23, 2013

On a chilly night at Hofstra University Soccer Stadium the Pride’s offense was anything, but cold. The Pride played host to the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights in a rare late October non-conference matchup. The dynamic duo of Maid Memic and Chris Gribsch took the spotlight once again. The pride got off to a quick start as junior, Maid Memic, scored his ninth goal of the season in the 13th-minute. Memic took a cross by junior, Elliot Firth, from the right corner and headed it in for the goal. The assist was Firth’s first of the season.  Memic recorded his eighth goal in his last eight games. Chris Gribsch forced a turnover and scored an unassisted goal in the 48th-minute. Gribsch recently became Hofstra’s all-time leader in assists with his 30th career assist in a win over James Madison. Gribsch scored his second goal of the night in the 72nd-minute as he put the ball into the bottom left corner of the net. The goal came from a perfectly placed right cross from senior, Herbert Biste. Gribsch’s goals marked his 6th and 7th goals of the season, respectively. When asked about the play of Chris Gribsch Head Coach, Richard Nuttall said, “To be totally honest I didn’t think he was having his best game. But he finished with two goals and he was just doing what he is normally doing. He’s a great player and we’re very thankful to have him.”

The Pride’s defense came up big all night as they allowed nine shots on goal. The defense did an excellent job of keeping the ball off of their side of the pitch throughout the game. This opened up many shot opportunities for the offense as they lead the way with 16 shots on goal. Nuttall kept the Pride fresh with multiple substitutions throughout the night. The play of sophomore goalkeeper, Patric Pray helped bolster the Pride to a shutout victory. Pray made 4 saves on the night, 1 that was an incredible diving save that occurred in the 8th-minute. When asked about Pray and the Pride defense Nuttall said, “In the first half he made two very good saves by playing high on his line and sweeping up like he’s supposed too. A lot of credit to him and a lot of credit to the defense.”

Tuesday’s win marked Hofstra’s seventh home win of the season. Hofstra hopes to remain undefeated at home as they host the University of Delaware on November 3rd. The Pride return to action on Saturday against conference foe, William & Mary at 7 p.m.

Hofstra Picks Up First Home Win Against Fordham

Published: oncampuspsorts.com November 16, 2013

 Senior, Anma Oneyeuku, scored a career high 23 points off of the bench to propel Hofstra past Fordham 77-64 on Friday night.  Oneyeuku also had career high seven assists. Junior guard, Andreana Thomas, added 21 points in the victory.  Sophomore, Ruth Sherrill, snagged  a career high 13 rebounds.

 Friday’s win was the Pride’s first home win of the season as they improve to 2-1. The Fordham Rams fall to 1-2 on the season.

 “Everybody was understanding personnel and they played each player extremely well. Credit to them. I’m very proud of them” said Hofstra coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey.

 Senior, Erin Rooney, led the Rams with a career high 23 points. Fellow senior, Abigail Corning, added 11 points for the visiting squad.

 The game got off to a slow start as neither team scored in the first 1:44 of the first half. Sophomore Syndi Epps got it started for the Pride with a lay-up with 17:59 on the clock. Senior, Annie Payton, made a lay-up to give Hofstra the lead with 14:10 remaining in the half. The Pride never looked back as they kept their lead for the rest of the game. Oneyeuku made one of her most impressive plays of the half as she stole the ball and finished with a layup with 8:45 left.

 The Rams started off the second half on a 2-0 run to cut the lead to six. This was the closest that the Rams would come to the Pride for the rest of the night. Oneyeuku made a tough jumper from the right side of the basket as she drew the foul with 12:01 remaining in the half. Thomas made a highly contested layup and followed with a free throw with 10:14 on the clock. Thomas’ three-point play gave Hofstra its largest lead of the game with 17 points.

 Oneyeuku was battling a minor leg injury this week, but it didn’t show against the Rams. “I had a lot of opportunities to watch the scouts in practice since I couldn’t go as much because of my leg. There was a lot of focus on what we didn’t do so well in the last game” said Oneyeuku when asked what attributed to her big performance.

“Having Oneyeuku back and everybody contributing opened up the lanes for me even more.” Thomas said. “They had to respect my teammates which gave me opportunities to score.”

 The Pride look to remain unbeaten on the road on Wednesday, Nov. 20 as they travel to Evanston, Illinois to take on the Northwestern Wildcats at 7:30 p.m.

Hofstra Basketball Weekly Review: January 5-11

Published: oncampuspsorts.com January 12, 2014

            It was a tough week for Hofstra basketball as the men’s and women’s teams combined for a 1-4 record.

The women’s team started the week with a heart breaking double overtime loss to Delaware Blue Hens on the road. The Pride fell in their Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Opener 71-66 to the Blue Hens. Senior guard, Annie Payton, hit a huge three pointer with 9.9 seconds left to send the game into overtime. Freshman point guard, Krystal Luciano, finished with 10 points as she scored in double figures for the second straight game. Senior forward, Anma Onyeuku recorded 14 points and nine rebounds.

The women’s team returned home to Hempstead on Thursday to host the Towson Tigers. The Tigers went on an 8-0 run in the second half and never looked back as they beat the Pride 62-56. Onyeuku and Payton led the way with 10 points each. Sophomore forward, Dee Thomas-Palmer posted career highs of nine points and six rebounds. With the loss to the Tigers, the Pride fell to 0-2 in conference play and 5-8 overall.

The men’s team began their week with an 86-67 loss on the road against the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights. Graduate forward, Zeke Upshaw led the Pride with 22 points. Freshman guard, Jamall Robinson posted 11 points and eight rebounds. The Pride split their season series with the Knights as the won the first meeting on November 10.

The men’s team continued their road trip against the Delaware Blue Hens on Wednesday. The Pride dropped their CAA opener 86-79 to the Blue Hens. Sophomore forward, Jordan Allen, recorded a career high 18 points and Upshaw added 19 points.  Hofstra won the first half as they lead 41-36 at half time. After a back and forth beginning to the second half, the Blue Hens proved to be too much for the Pride.

The men’s team returned home on Saturday as they looked for their first CAA win of the season against the College of Charleston Cougars. The Pride rallied from a 10-point deficit to pull off the big upset. All five of the Pride’s starters finished in double figures as Upshaw led the way with 22 points. Saturday’s win snapped the Pride’s three game losing streak and resulted in their first CAA win of the season. The Pride return to action on the road at UNCW on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Hofstra Basketball CAA Tournament Preview

Published: oncampuspsorts.com March 5, 2014

2013 Record: 9-22 (5-11 CAA)

Conference Tournament Champions: Hofstra has never won the CAA Tournament. East Coast Conference Tournament Champions-1976 and 1977. American East Conference Tournament Champions-2000 and 2001.

The year so far: The games: The regular season was a rough beginning to the Joe Mihalich era. The regular season went as expected for a rebuilding program, but there were some bright spots. The Pride played their first road game of the season against the defending National Champion, Louisville Cardinals. Hofstra went on 18-8 run to start the second half to cut the lead to five before losing 97-69. The Pride struggled in conference play as they went on a five game losing skid towards the end of the season.

The (pleasant) surprises: One of the most encouraging surprises has been the play of freshman guard, Jamall Robinson. Robinson earned five Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Week awards. Robinson is also the first true freshman to start every game for the Pride during the regular season since current assistant coach, Craig “Speedy” Claxton, in the 1996-1997 season.

The bad and the ugly: Hofstra was fortunate to stay healthy and out of trouble after a season full of suspensions last year. One of the low points of this season was when the Pride blew a 13-point lead in the season opener to the Monmouth Hawks who finished ninth in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC).

The man: My pick for regular season MVP is graduate guard, Zeke Upshaw. Upshaw has led the Pride with 19.6 points per game and 84 three pointers. He is second in the CAA in scoring and thirty-third in the NCAA.

On the line: As Hofstra is in the first year of a rebuilding process they will be playing for pride. The Pride experienced a nightmarish season last year after the arrest of four key players after a string of campus robberies. The suspension of another troubled player soon followed. Hofstra was faced with the tough decision to let go of three-year head coach, Mo Cassara. New head coach, John Mihalich, was optimistic about a team that only had five returning players from last season. Mihalich brought high expectations to Hempstead himself after fifteen successful years as the head coach of Niagara.  He guided the Purple Eagles to NCAA Tournament appearances in 2005 and 2007. Hofstra looks avenge their early exit from the CAA Tournament last year. The Pride lost their first round game to Delaware 62-57. The addition of two new teams to the CAA has resulted in an extra game between the seven and eight seeds. A step in the right direction for the Pride would be to win their opening round game against UNC Wilmington.

Next opponent: The eight seed Pride will play the nine seed UNC Wilmington Seahawks at 7:00 p.m. on Friday at Baltimore Arena. Hofstra swept the season series against the Seahawks, winning both contests. The Pride won the first game 69-64 as Zeke Upshaw led the way with 27 points. Hofstra won the second meeting 61-52, as Upshaw was the star again with 16 points. Hofstra needs to see strong efforts from their big three: Upshaw, Robinson, and Dion Nesmith. On the defensive side, the Pride will have to contain Freddie Jackson and Chris Dixon. Jackson averaged 11 points in both games against Hofstra this season. Dixon led the Seahawks with 15 points in the first meeting between these two teams. The main keys to victory for the Pride are to create scoring opportunities for Upshaw and Robinson. Upshaw’s three-point shooting ability could cause major problems for the Seahawks if he gets hot. If the results of the regular season are on Hofstra’s side then it is likely that they will move on to play the one seed Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens on Saturday.

Tournament favorite: I believe that the tournament favorite is the one seeded Delaware Blue Hens. The Blue Hens finished with a record of 22-9 and 14-2 in the CAA. Delaware dominated the CAA, only losing to Towson and Drexel. The Blue Hens also played impressively against powerhouse teams in Villanova, Notre Dame, and Ohio State. They narrowly lost all three of those contests. The tournament should be smooth sailing for the Hens, as they look for revenge in a potential rematch with Towson. Delaware-Towson is my pick for the CAA Championship game.

Dark horse (or two): Even though they are the two seed, Towson is my dark horse to win the tournament. Towson has completely turned around their program in two years. The Tigers set a Division 1 record with a 41 game losing streak that ended on February 25, 2012 with a win against UNC Wilmington. The Tigers hadn’t won a game since December 29, 2010 at La Salle. The Tigers are one of two teams that beat tournament favorite, Delaware in conference play this year. The Tigers could give the Blue Hens a run for their money if they meet in the CAA Championship game. The Tigers had a 75-69 impressive win against NCCA Tournament regular, Temple. The Tigers could definitely make some noise in the CAA Tournament.

Prediction: I predict that Hofstra will defeat the UNC Wilmington Seahawks in their first round game on Friday. I believe that the Pride will make it a close game with Delaware, but unfortunately fall short. Hofstra played the Blue Hens well in two loses this year. They lost a four point heart breaker to Delaware in their second meeting. I expect Zeke Upshaw to continue his hot streak on the offensive end. I expect Jamall Robinson will steal the show on larger stage for the whole conference to see his bright future. Robinson has a tremendous upside to his game and it is exciting to see where he will take this program in the coming years. I predict that Towson will beat Delaware in the CAA Championship game. A NCAA Tournament bid would show that the Tigers have significantly grown from their embarrassing losing streak two years ago.

Hofstra Hangs on to Advance to Quarterfinals

Published: oncampuspsorts.com March 7, 2014

            Graduate forward, Zeke Upshaw, continued his hot streak as he scored 23 points in eight seeded, Hofstra’s 78-70 win over the ninth seeded, UNC Wilmington Seahawks in the first round of the CAA Tournament.

Graduate guard, Dion Nesmith, brings the ball up court in the first round of the 2014 Tournament. Photo Credit-Jeff Lansky

 Hofstra’s big three: Upshaw, Dion Nesmith, and Jamall Robinson were the ironmen of the game, playing all 40 minutes of the contest. Upshaw was 4-7 from three-point range and dished out 3 assists. Graduate guard, Nesmith added 15 points with 3 assists. Freshman guard, Jamall Robinson, had an unusually quiet night with 10 points, but managed to hit the shot that lifted the Pride over the Seahawks.

  “In the end we had that refuse to lose mentality about us. It’s survive and advance so we’re tickled to death to keep playing basketball ” said head coach, Joe Mihalich

 The Seahawks were led by red-shirt sophomore guard, Craig Ponder, who scored a season high 24 points off of the bench. Junior guard, Freddie Jackson, tied a career high with 16 points.

 The Seahawks jumped out to a three-point lead to start out the game, but Hofstra soon took over. Upshaw hit back-to-back three pointers to give Hofstra the 6-5 lead with 17:47 remaining in the first half. The Pride then jumped out to a 7 point lead with 15:59 left in the half off of a pair of free throws from sophomore forward, Jordan Allen. The Seahawks rallied back as Jackson hit a layup to tie the game at 23 with 8:18 left on the clock. UNC Wilmington kept the pressure on Hofstra as they trailed 39-35 at the half.

 Upshaw got the second half started for the Pride with a three pointer to make the score 42-39 with 18:09 left in the second half. Hofstra took their largest lead of the game after senior forward, Stephen Nwaukoni, sank two free throws to take a 58-50 lead with 8:28. The Seahawks weren’t out of it yet as they rallied

Hofstra sophomore, forward, Jordan Allen drives in the first round of the 2014 CAA Tournament. Photo Credit-Jeff Lansky

back into the game. Jackson gave UNC Wilmington a 60-59 lead, which was their first lead since the beginning of the first half with an old-fashioned three-point play with 5:17 left. The Pride and Seahawks traded leads over the next three minutes, setting the stage for Jamall Robinson to redeem himself from his slow first half. Robinson put back his missed lay-up, was fouled, and preceded to sink his free throw. Robinson’s big play put Hofstra up for good with a 72-70 lead with 1:53 left on the clock. Nwaukoni put the exclamation point on the win with a show-stopping dunk to bring the game to its final score of 78-70.

 Hofstra’s big men made a huge impact as Nwaukoni and junior forward, Moussa Kone, combined for 21 points and 23 rebounds. “They made winning basketball plays down the stretch,” said Mihalich “I’m really happy with those guys.”

 With Friday night’s win, Hofstra advances to the CAA Tournament quarterfinals against the one seeded Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens at 12 p.m. tomorrow. The Pride look to avenge their first round exit in last year’s tournament at the hands of the Blue Hens. When asked about how the Pride match up with the Blue Hens, Mihalich said, “They are a potent offensive team. We played them well the first two games and hopefully we can find a way to do that tomorrow.”

Hofstra Chronicle cover March 13, 2014. Photos by Jeff Lansky