By Kevin Carroll — SPORTS EDITOR
A sensational performance from Laura Masciullo wasn’t enough to keep the Hofstra volleyball team afloat on Sunday afternoon, as the Pride were overwhelmed by the CAA-leading Northeastern University Huskies in a four-set rollercoaster of a match at the Physical Education Center.
“Great effort by Northeastern, a great team that came out and played really well,” said Hofstra head coach Emily Mansur after the loss. “We had good moments, but just not enough to win.”
Northeastern won the first, third and fourth sets by scores of 25-18, 26-24 and 25-18. Hofstra was able to won the second set in convincing fashion, 25-12.
Masciullo had 14 kills and 12 digs to top the Hofstra statsheet, her fifth double-double of the season. Emma Price and Nanishka Perez had six kills apiece, the latter’s highest total since the home opener against Bryant University one month prior.
“I think Nanishka was the best highlight we had out of this match,” Mansur said.
But those solid performances couldn’t hold up under the weight of 20 attack errors and 12 service errors from the Pride, a team that has struggled with errors all season.
“I think Laura was good, but I think she’s much better than what she did [today],” Mansur said. “She’s a great player and we need her in every match.”
The Huskies came out swinging for the fences, scoring the first five points and racing to a 15-5 lead before the Pride really had a chance to get anything going. At this point in the match, Northeastern had a hitting percentage up around .800, leading to visible frustration from the Hofstra coaching staff.
But signs of life in the Pride began to flicker even in a first-set loss, as the team saved five straight match points before a service error sealed the first set for the Huskies.
Hofstra parlayed that momentum into a terrific second set, cruising to victory to the delight of another large, vocal crowd. Masciullo had six kills in the set as the Pride looked completely poised and in control, almost like a different team from the one that showed up in the first set.
After two lopsided sets to start off, the third set looked like it was going to swing the momentum firmly back in the Huskies’ favor. Northeastern controlled the early part of the action, not allowing Hofstra to close the deficit to less than four points for most of it.
But the Pride came roaring back down the stretch, tying the set at 18 and sending the crowd into a frenzy. Northeastern built up another small lead, but Hofstra tied it up again at 21, and even took a 24-23 lead, preparing to serve for the set before Northeastern head coach Ken Nichols.
This break would do wonders for the Huskies, scoring the next three points to clinch the third set and take a 2-1 overall lead in the match.
This turn of events took the air out of the Pride, who just didn’t have the same fight and resolve in the fourth set, hanging tough but never really threatening as the Huskies ended the match with a 25-18 victory, sticking the Pride with back-to-back losses after dropping a five-setter to James Madison University on Monday night.
Hofstra drops to 13-9, 5-3 in the CAA with the loss. Northeastern maintains its hold on first place in the conference, improving to 15-6 overall and a perfect 8-0 in the CAA.
The Pride will swing back through their CAA schedule starting on Friday, Oct. 20, opening up a two-game road trip with a match at the College of Charleston. The Cougars are a game back in the CAA at 7-1, and defeated the Pride in four sets when these two teams clashed last month.