Hofstra women's lacrosse loses top scorer


Pride loses top scorer to injury
Hofstra’s women’s lacrosse team was hit with some early adversity when top scorer Nikki Mennella suddenly was lost for the year with a knee injury.
The freshman from Smithtown had already struck for 23 goals in six games before getting hurt in the fourth quarter of a 14-11 loss at Army on March 4. Hofstra showed resilience after losing Mennella with a 15-2 romp over Wagner three days later followed by a near upset of 20th-ranked USC in a 9-8 defeat on March 12.
“All year we have been building a great dynamic and belief system and the team has really bought into it,” Smith said. “We have learned to stay positive.”
With the absence of Mennella, junior Kerry Walser is taking on more of a leadership role on offense. She tallied three goals and an assist in the USC loss after notching 22 goals in 2022.

Senior Taylor Mennella, the older sister of Nikki, has the most points on the team with 26. The Pride’s boast a number of other scoring threats including senior Katie Kelly, graduate student Rachel Graff, who graduated Columbia last year and Lauren Colletti.
On defense, Hofstra has forced 5 turnovers led by Trinity Reed, Brynn Hepting, Kendall Smith and Kayla Robertson along with graduate student midfielder Kayla Gatti. Freshman goalie Luchianna Cardello has emerged as the starting net-minder after leading Massapequa High School to back-to-back Nassau County Class A titles. 
Hofstra (4-5) opened with a 14-6 win against Long Island University and 11-8 at then 25th-ranked Vanderbilt before dropping four straight. The Pride opened CAA play with a 13-12 loss at William & Mary with a late comeback falling just short and will host Towson in their conference home opener this Saturday at noon. The CAA schedule closes on April 28 at league newcomer and national power Stony Brook. 
“It’s a new season,” said Smith of the CAA schedule, where the top four teams make the conference playoffs. “We have to treat every game like it’s our last.”