03/18/2013 3:37 PM ET
Familiar foes Hofstra, St. John's square off
Pride put 5-1 record, defensive strength on the line in road tilt
By Eamon McAnaney / SNY.tv
Sophomore goalie Chris Selva has helped Hofstra excel on defense this season. (Hofstra Athletics)

It's not unusual for college rivals to play for jugs, buckets or bells.

But when St. John's hosts Hofstra in lacrosse Tuesday, they might as well just bring an old-school printing press to DaSilva Memorial Field.

"I can't get Newsday to cover us and I have just as many Long Island guys on our team as they do," said St. John's head coach Jason Miller.

"It has definitely been a goal of ours from Day 1 to get Hofstra," Miller said of the matchup. "There is a little bit of juice to it because it's something we have been chipping away at. A win over Hofstra would have huge dividends, and Tuesday is our opportunity to cash in on it."

"It's huge," said Hofstra head coach Seth Tierney. "It's always important to win the local games, especially since there are so many more young players in the New York City area."

Hofstra is off to a 5-1 start, and is coming off road wins at No. 3 Notre Dame and league-rival Delaware. But there isn't much fear of a letdown after the Pride finished 2012 with a 6-8 record that included six one-goal losses.

"When we prepare today, we are thinking about last year," Tierney said. "Last year is one big game, one big one-goal loss. We're angry."

The Pride is in the top 10 thanks in large part to a defensive unit that is allowing an NCAA-best 6.6 goals per game. A combination of experienced players who want to leave their stamp on Hofstra lacrosse -- grad students Michael Hamilton and Mark Mullen, and senior Cody Solaja -- and talented sophomore goalie Chris Selva have helped the Pride achieve that success.

"He is an unbelievable competitor who rises to the occasion," Tierney said of Selva. "He has earned the respect of his teammates in the locker room."

Selva will have his eyes locked on Red Storm attackman Kieran McCardle, but the Johnnies won't have to look far to find a similar scouting report.

"You have to compare it to playing against Notre Dame," Miller said. "The way they pack it in, switch on picks, it's all similar to Notre Dame. We have to manufacture slides with them, then move the ball and shoot well."

Last year, Adrian Sorichetti led the way for Hofstra with a ridiculous seven-goal, three-assist performance in a 14-10 victory. But that was in Hempstead; Tuesday, the Pride will make the 20-mile trip to Queens.

"We have to bring the energy to their place and then we have to execute," Tierney said. "This St. John's team is talented, they play hard and scrappy and they have the revenge factor in their pocket."

Miller said "there is extra incentive" for St. John's.

"Everywhere we go, we run into the Hofstra guys," he said. "In summer league, you see the Hofstra guys. We go indoors to play in the winter, we see the Hofstra guys. We go into a high school to recruit, we see the Hofstra guys. They're everywhere."

Tierney also knows there's familiarity between the two teams.

"When we play St. John's, it's like looking in a mirror," Tierney said. "It's going to be a brawl."

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