By Joe Fay — SPORTS EDITOR
The fifth-seeded Hofstra volleyball team’s season came to an end on Friday night in the CAA semifinals against the top-seeded Cougars of Charleston. The match was a five-set, gut-wrenching loss for the Pride, with set scores of 25-21, 20-25, 25-22, 21-25 and 6-15.
None of the sets were won by more than five points, showing how competitive and close the match was throughout. Hofstra won a back-and-forth first set before losing the second set after a 6-0 run gave Charleston the lead for good.
The third set came down to the wire, with Hofstra leading 23-22 before kills from Sanne Maring and Ivania Ortiz won the match for the Pride. Hofstra played from behind for most of the fourth set, but was unable to close the gap.
With the match tied 2-2, both teams’ seasons came down to the fifth set. The tide had turned, and the Pride never got it back. Charleston jumped out to an early 8-2 lead and never looked back, easily winning the final frame 15-6 to advance to the CAA championship match.
While both teams ended up with an attack percentage around .200, Hofstra faltered when it mattered most. In the fifth set, the Pride managed just a .062 attack percentage while the Cougars had a scorching .467 percentage of their own.
Hofstra was led by their usual core: Ortiz collected 14 kills and 16 digs, Laura Masciullo swatted 21 kills and Luisa Sydlik tallied 55 assists. Yet even those impressive performances turned out to not be enough to move on.
Charleston’s efforts were spearheaded by Devon Rachel who had 24 kills and 15 digs, as well as Allison Beckman with 55 assists and 16 digs. Charleston went on to get swept by James Madison in the CAA championship.
Hofstra ended their season with an 18-14 overall record (9-7 CAA). Much of this young squad will be returning next year, ready to pick up where they left off with the hopes of making another deep run in the playoffs.