Simon Riddiough pointed the way for the Hofstra University women, who recorded a 14-game unbeaten streak and reach the NCAA D-I tournament. (Photo courtesy of Hofstra SID)
Hofstra University women’s head coach Simon Riddiough Monday was named the FrontRowSoccer.com women’s soccer coach of the year for 2017.
Riddiough directed the Pride into the NCAA Division I tournament after missing the Colonial Athletic Association playoffs in 2016. He was honored among women’s college coaches in the New York metro area.
In fact, Hofstra finished with a perfect 9-0 record in CAA regular-season action as it became the first team in conference history to register an unbeaten and united mark. Riddiough also accomplished the feat with the Pride in 2010.
Hofstra secured two titles as it won the CAA Championship for the first time since 2012, edging Northeastern University, 2-1 to earn an automatic bid to the Division I tournament. The Pride (15-4-2) extended its winning streak to 12 games and its unbeaten run to 14.
“It was important because last year we didn’t get to the conference playoffs,” Riddiough said of reaching the NCAAs. “Everybody was second-guessing our style, our system. Our program was in a precarious position. Did we rely on that one player for four years, Leah Galton, to carry us? And now we’re just an average Division 1 team? So we had a lot things to figure out this year. The first one was to get to the playoffs. The second one was to host and third one was to win the championship. From what we did from last year to now, this is sweet, it is really sweet for these kids.”
Riddiough and his team were expecting to host an opening-round game in the D-I tournament.
“Our RPI was 27 today,” he said after the CAA Championship win. “If we should jump again. So we should be at least 25, which is a top nine seed. If you’re a top eight seed, theoretically we should host. As you know, stranger things happen in the world of college soccer. So we may host, we may not. To be honest, we’re just relieved to be there.”
Despite the Pride’s sterling season and unbeaten streak, Hofstra not only did not receive a home playoff game, it was forced to perform on the road in Auburn, Ala., well out of the Northeast. The team lost at Auburn (8-6-5), 1-0, Nov. 10. Bri Folds tallied the game-winner at 53:54 as she bent her shot into the top left corner of the net.
It was Hofstra’s first defeat in more than two months, or since Sept. 4.