By Daniel Slamowitz, Special to The Chronicle
This past weekend Hofstra's Women's Volleyball team traveled to Springfield, Missouri for the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational. After starting the season with a 7-0 record, the third-best in program history, Hofstra hit a bump in the road starting with Kansas State on Friday afternoon.
Despite impressive play by freshman outside hitter Kelsie Wills and sophomore outside hitter Nikki Kinnier, who both had double-digit kills, the Pride suffered its first loss of the 2011 season in four sets.
"I saw some really great things from Kelsie," said head coach Kristina Hernandez. "She was not afraid to get to the front of the net."
Hofstra then lost in 3 straight sets to South Dakota State, all by a small margin of 25-19, 25-18, and 25-19. It was Wills that led the Pride with nine kills and contributing ten digs, but the Pride struggled offensively to get anything going with a measley .078 htting percentage.
Continuing on Saturday, Kinnier had a sparkling performance again with 16 kills and a .387 hitting percentage, but Hofstra still couldn't break through.The Missouri State Bears beat the Pride by scores of 25-19, 25-20, and 25-19.
Rounding out the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational, Arkansas State would go on to win a tough five-set match, in spite of Hofstra's rally from two sets down. Wills and Kinnear with the inclusion of senior middle blocker Taylor Moore attained double digit kill tallies for the match.
"There were some good things that we can take away individually," said Hernandez. "As a team though, we just could not get it together."
A change in scenery didn't help either as the Pride fell in straight sets to Seton Hall on Tuesday evening at Walsh Gymnasium in South Orange, New Jersey. The match proved to be a defensive clash with junior libero Kylee Maneja leading the Pride with 21 digs. Hofstra falls to 7-5 this season, after losing by scores of 25-22, 25-18 and 25-11. This was the tenth meeting all-time between the two programs with Hofstra's lead in the series now standing at 7-3.
Hofstra will return to action this weekend when it competes in the Aggie Invitational in Davis, California where it will take on UC Davis, Seattle University and the Air Force Academy.
"This past week showed what we need to work on," said Hernandez. "Hopefully we'll be able to improve on these things by the time we get to California.