Hofstra will play 14 games in 2015, exactly the same number of competition dates the team maintained a season ago. But that isn't the only corollary that the Pride has to their schedule from 2014: All but two nonconference dates from last year are placed precisely in the same position in 2015 and Hofstra will meet only two teams -- Manhattan and Providence -- that the Pride did not see one year ago. That's schedule synergy. There are men in boardrooms that demand this kind of efficiency from their corporations as they sit back in fancy chairs and smoke $1,000 cigars.
Here are some schedule highlights and games of note:
You Killed My Father
April 4: Drexel
This may become The Angriest Game in the History of EarthTM. The Pride and Dragons essentially played an NCAA Tournament-off last year in the THUNDERDOME! Tournament final, an 11-10 triple overtime victory for Drexel. Hofstra was an astonishing 22-5 against the Dragons before the teams met at Shuart Stadium last May, and the Pride are likely going to want revenge against a program that has beaten Hofstra in three of the teams' last four meetings.
THUNDERDOME! is built for these kinds of series: Hard-fought, consequence-heavy dates that drive at the soul of what Division I lacrosse is. With the Dragons seemingly surging and the Pride devoid of an invitation to The Big Barbeque since 2011, Shuart could play host to a must-witness event in early-April. The only thing that's disappointing about this particular meeting is that it's locked for an afternoon start instead of an evening death match.
Smell Ya Later!
April 11: at Cornell; April 18: at Towson; April 25: at Fairfield
Oof! Hofstra will close their 2015 campaign with three consecutive road games against three teams capable of making the Pride's existence one of shrieking pain. The manageable aspect of this push is that the dates come on consecutive Saturdays without midweek games to complicate things, but these are still three difficult opponents that should be playing at their highest levels.
The meeting with Cornell is obviously going to create some internal pop -- the Red stand with Princeton as the Pride's best nonconference games this coming spring -- but it's the two dates at the tail-end of the year that are the most important for Hofstra: Closing with the Tigers and Stags -- league opposition -- could shape the Pride's THUNDERDOME! Tournament hopes. Collecting some magnitude of wins against Drexel, Massachusetts, and Delaware is an absolute must for Hofstra if the Pride don't want to limp into Towson and Fairfield needing to collect victories in pressure-fueled situations. Relief is always contextual, and there is little of it on this portion of Hofstra's schedule at this time.
Next Man Up
February 14: Marquette; February 20: at Princeton; February 24: Manhattan; February 28: at Georgetown
The Pride are in a bit of personnel transition from last season. From its starting lineup in the THUNDERDOME! Tournament final last season, Hofstra lost two-thirds of its starting attack, two-thirds of its starting close defense, and a 22-goal scorer in the midfield in Drew Coholan. This isn't a straight cakewalk for the Pride to start their season (with the exception of Manhattan), and Hofstra will need to find its volition a little quicker than it may be comfortable with to start the 2015 season. Where the Pride start may not be where the Pride ends, and Hofstra will not have a free pass to accelerate their growth.