The CAA tournament is about to commence and the fourth seed Hofstra Pride will travel to North Carolina to face the fifth seed Towson University Tigers. The Hofstra volleyball team finished the regular season with a 20-9 record overall and a 10-6 record in the Colonial. That was good enough for third in the conference, behind James Madison, the College of Charleston and Northeastern.
On the year, Laura Masciullo was the most productive player for Hofstra, as she led the team with 374 kills. The freshman from Italy had four games this year where she recorded twenty kills or more, against three different CAA opponents. If the Pride is going to advance in the tournament, she is going to have to be the offensive leader for this team.
However, the reason Hofstra has been so dangerous this year is because the team is balanced. The Pride has three players that have over 200 kills on the season, including the leader of the group, Veronika Kostova. Her game has improved each season, including last year where she posted 468 kills to lead Hofstra.
On the other hand, none of these players would be mentioned if it were not for senior Hannah Klemm. She was a staple in what the Pride has accomplished over the last few years. For the last two seasons, she has won CAA setter of the year, including adding about 1500 assists last year. This season, she has still been a very productive player for the Pride, registering 834 assists. Despite the lower production, she has had help in the assist department, so she does not need to do all the work herself. Freshman Luisa Sydlik has really taken some of the pressure off of Klemm, as she has added over 400 assists on the season, which is about half of Klemm’s.
Last year, Hofstra made it to the conference tournament, but lost in a tight match in the quarterfinals to the College of Charleston three sets to two. The Pride was down two sets to none, but roared back winning the next two. However, it fell in the fifth set, 15-13. Going into this tournament, the Pride has struggled a bit against CAA opponents, losing two of its final three matches. One of those two losses came against its upcoming opponent in the CAA quarterfinals, the Towson Tigers.
In that game, the team was swept three frames to none, where it struggled offensively. It finished with an .057 hitting percentage for the match. However, Hofstra won the other match against the Tigers three sets to one. That was the game were Kostova reached 1,000 kills in her illustrious Hofstra career. In the same match, Masciullo continued her solid season with 18 kills, while Kostova had 15 and Nanishka Perez had 12. The Pride played a very good game, as limiting itself to 13 errors altogether.
Towson is confident coming into the match, as it has won four of its last five games. For the Tigers, Jessica Lewis leads the team with 434 kills on the season. However, Hofstra has done a good job limiting her in the previous matches, as she had a total of 18 kills in the two matches combined. Additionally, what Klemm has been for the Pride, is what Marrisa Wonders is for Towson. She leads the team with 822 assists total.
Even with the game that Hofstra won, it was a tight match. Hofstra played very well and still the Tigers kept the match close. If the Pride is going to beat Towson, it is going to have to play near flawlessly. If it does, it has a shot to beat James Madison University and advance to the CAA finals.