#16 Hofstra Knocks off #8 Towson in CAA Semifinals

Harrisonburg, VA - Senior attack Liz Falco scored four first half goals and senior midfielder Corrine Gandolfi added one goal and three assists as the #16 Hofstra Women's Lacrosse team advanced to the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Championship game with a thrilling 9-8 victory over #8 Towson on Thursday evening at the JMU Lacrosse Complex.

The win was Hofstra's first top ten victory since beating then-#8 James Madison, 12-9, on April 27, 2007.

Hofstra, the number three seed in the tournament, never trailed in the contest and broke an eight-all tie with 13:11 left before both team's defenses clamped down in the final minutes. In the game's final minutes, a Towson free-position shot was block and then in the waning moments of the contest sophomore goalie Jackie Pandolf make a point-blank save on Towson's Jackie LaMonica to preserve the victory.

The Pride's defense would stop one of the more impressive streaks in lacrosse history as well tonight as Towson senior Hillary Fratzke, the CAA Player of the Year, was held scoreless in the contest. Fratzke came into the game having scored a point in every contest during her 70-game career and had scored a goal in 64 straight games as well.

Hofstra advances to its second-ever CAA title game (2007) and will meet #7 James Madison on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. with the winner earning the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship. Hofstra, which won the CAA Tournament in 2007, will be looking for its third-ever NCAA Tournament appearance after making it in 2001 and 2007.

The win improved Hofstra's record to 12-5 this season, while Towson, the second seed in the tournament, drops to 13-4 and will await a possible at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament. The victory also ended a three-game losing skid for Hofstra against Towson, which defeated the Pride, 9-7, in Maryland on April 25.

Saturday's title tilt will be a rematch of the 2007 CAA championship game, which the Pride won by the score of 15-13.

Hofstra dominated in nearly all facets of the game in the first half as they led 7-2 after thirty minutes of play behind the stellar play of Falco. Hofstra, which trailed 3-0 to open the earlier match-up this season between the teams, turned the tables on the Tigers tonight as they led 3-0 after 10-plus minutes of action.

Falco got the Pride started in the contest as she scored the first two goals of the game, while senior attack Ashley Jones added the third tally for Hofstra.

Towson would regroup from the early deficit and back-to-back goals from Jess Dunn and Jacie Kendall cut the deficit to 3-2 with 16:13 to play in the opening stanza.

It would be all Hofstra from that point the remainder of the half as junior attack Stephanie Rice got Hofstra started on a half-ending 4-0 run with a goal off an assist from freshman attack Claire Brady with 10:57 left.

The two teams would be scoreless for over eight minutes until Gandolfi notched her lone goal of the game with 2:56 left to put Hofstra up 5-2. Falco then closed the half in spectacular fashion as she recorded two goals in the final 1:01 of the half to allow the Pride to lead 7-2 at the break. Her four goals in the first half tied her career-high and gave her the fifth hat trick of her season.

Hofstra was stellar on defense in the first half as they forced Towson into 13 turnovers, while only committing seven of their own. Senior defender Bryana Borrelli and Gandolfi led the defensive charge with two caused turnovers apiece.

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