By Felipe Fontes — STAFF WRITER
The Hofstra Pride volleyball team played host to the UNCW Seahawks on Sunday afternoon, dominating in the early sets before grinding out the last two en route to a three sets to one victory.
The final set scores were 25-16, 25-10, 26-24 and 25-19.
The Hofstra team, coming off a loss to Charleston, looked every bit motivated to get back on its feet in its next game.
The Pride sprung out of the gates to begin the game, completely controlling the majority of the action through the second stanza, winning by 11 points.
The first two sets combined saw Hofstra’s point advantage climb to a staggering 24.
This was greatly due to the collective effort from players compensating for the off-game by star sophomore Laura Masciullo.
In this run, the Pride did not commit any attack errors, proving efficiency to be a key factor in the unbalanced affair through the first two sets.
“A lot of times we’re going to be in uncomfortable situations and we don’t need big swings,” said Hofstra head coach Emily Mansur after the game. “We just need to place the ball in a location where we get a chance to play again and get something easier to our side. They were really mentally engaged on doing that.”
Following the break from action after the first couple sets, it seemed the Seahawks were able to make some adjustments to create a more competitive environment in the field of play.
With a combined .016 percent hitting percentage in the first two sets, UNCW’s efficiency skyrocketed to .310 percent in the third and .357 percent in the fourth set, completely changing the complexity of the game.
The head of this attack was Maddy Kline who ended her day with 12 kills, five of them coming in the third set.
This offensive production, coupled with a multitude of unforced errors on Hofstra’s side of the net kept the broom away from the court as UNCW’s comeback efforts pulled them within one set of the Pride.
“We went from making no errors, to making six errors in that set – which is a big change,” Mansur said. “So that made a huge difference especially in a tight set like that. We also committed many more service errors than we did in the first two sets.”
Despite falling in the third set, Hofstra’s offensive proficiency ultimately prevailed as a victory in the final set which brought the game to a close.
The engine that makes this offense run was once again clicking on all levels. The key cog of this engine, Luisa Sydlik, connected with her teammates 52 times for kills.
Calling her own number occasionally as well, she added five kills while guarding her side of the net with 11 digs and four blocks.
“Luisa distributed the ball really well today. She really took charge when we started to go down and brought the team in. I think this relationship that she created today is really important,” Mansur said.
Even in a slight off-game for Masciullo, who committed an uncharacteristic five errors, she still recorded a game-high 17 kills, while freshman Ivania Ortiz added 13 herself in the Pride’s first conference victory.
After capping off their recent five-game home stretch, the Pride will continue CAA play in Towson, Maryland, where they will be challenged with the undefeated Towson Tigers squad.
Towson is 16-0 for the year, with two conference wins under its belt and looks to be the heavy favorite to come away with the conference title this year.
Hofstra hopes to stand in its way and pin Towson with its first loss when the teams face off on Friday, Sept. 29.