HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – The Hofstra University men, under the direction of 33rd-year head coach Richard Nuttall, begins the fall season Thursday night at the University of Rhode Island.

Kickoff from Kingston, R.I. is set for 7 p.m.

The game marks the first meeting between Hofstra and Rhode Island.

Hofstra returns 20 players, including 10 starters, from last season’s squad that went 5-2-3, won the Colonial Athletic Association’s North Division, and advanced to the finals of the CAA Championship.

Included among the 10 returning starters are a quartet of preseason All-CAA selections in Matthew Vowinkel, George O’Malley, Storm Strongin and Wessel Speel. Vowinkel, O’Malley, and Strongin were named to the preseason All-CAA team while Speel was an honorable mention selection.

After leading the team in scoring with six goals and five assists, Vowinkel returns for one final season as he looks to climb the Hofstra record books. He ranks sixth in career goals with 29 and ninth in points with 65. He is also the sixth leading active goal scorer in NCAA Division I.

O’Malley anchors the defensive unit and is in his third season as a team captain. The Englishman also recorded a goal and two assists last season.

Strongin has been one of the top assist men in the CAA for the past two seasons and tallied three in the abbreviated 2020 season. His 15 career assists rank 10th all-time at Hofstra.

Speel played every minute in goal for the Pride as a freshman last season and ranked second in the CAA with 43 saves. He posted a 1.21 goals-against average and added three shutouts.

Rhode Island is coming off a 2-3-1 season this past spring but were an NCAA Division I Tournament team in 2019 with a 14-4-3 record. The Rams welcome back two Atlantic 10 All-Conference performers Edvin Akselsen and Stefan Schmidt who opted out of last season as well as 2020 leading scorer Patrick Agyemang.

Hofstra will return to action Monday, Aug. 30 at 6 p.m. at Stony Brook University in the second of four consecutive road games to start the season.