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College Crosse's Impossibly Early, Definitely Perfect (Sort of), Rock-Solid (Maybe) Pre-Fall Ball Top-20: Number 18 (Hofstra)

The 2013 season is six months away. Let's punch fate in the face and make wild assumptions about what could be the best 20 teams in the country next year.

Team: Hofstra

Rank: 18

Important People: Adrian Sorichetti (M); Lance Yapor (A); John Antoniades (FOGO); Mark Mullen (D)

Formerly Important People: Andrew Gvozden (G); Mike DeNapoli (A/M); Steve Serling (M)

Final 2012 Poll Positions: Media: NR; Coaches: NR

2012 Record: 6-8 (2-4, THUNDERDOME!)

2012 Snapshot: Shake that moneymaker!

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Nightmare Fuel

Hofstra was the anti-Fairfield in 2012, playing competitively during pretty much all of their slate yet making a mess in their pants when it really mattered. Some important pieces to Tierney's program are gone -- DeNapoli and Serling were nice complementary players to all-everything Sorichetti through the Pride's midfield -- but Hofstra may not feel a bigger loss than Gvozden's departure due to graduation. Gvozden, who vacillated between "Death Monster" and "Pure Death" for many Pride fans depending on the keepers most-recent performance, had been a fixture between the pipes for the last four years. Hofstra is going to have a really tough time replacing the keeper; to address that situation, the Pride are currently carrying four goalies on their roster (none of which have had any significant playing experience at the Division I level). For a team that needs to find some consistency in 2013, an unstable goalie situation could hold the Pride back from moving toward the top of THUNDERDOME! despite the fact that they have, darting around the field and raising hell, one of the best midfielders in the nation.

A Thousand White Doves

Outside of Sorichetti and Yapor returning next year, Hofstra will have some continuity in its back end: The entire close defense -- presumably Cody Solaja, Corey Caputo, and Mark Mullen (two seniors and a sophomore) -- returns to provide some stabilization to the Pride's issue in the crease. Throw in Ryan Rielly manning the pole -- the long-stick midfielder was third on the team in groundballs in 2012 and led the team in caused turnovers -- and Hofstra has a nice defensive nucleus to build around in the spring. This is potentially an odd permutation in Hempstead, once finding its focus on the offensive end with guys like Jay Card, Jamie Lincoln, and Stephen Bentz. J.P. Brazel may not have the best defensive unit in THUNDERDOME!, but it should keep the Pride in games, allowing Sorichetti to scorch earth with impunity.