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Volleyball takes two of three in California

By Angelo Brussich, Special to The Chronicle

 

The Hofstra University volleyball team ended its six game losing streak last weekend and it took them a 3,000 mile trip to do so. 

Having already been on a five game losing streak heading into its west coast trip at the Aggie Invitational, the Pride had a daunting task at hand against UC Davis, the host of the Aggie Invitational. The Aggies, coming into the game with a record of 10-1, were riding high as they had won six consecutive matches.

The game started well for the Pride as it took the first set 26-24 with sophomore outside hitter Nikki Kinnier leading the charge with six kills in the first set, appropriately putting away the Aggies with a set finishing service ace. 

Having trailed 20-16 at one point in the set, the Pride scored ten of the last fourteen points to take the set. 

The sweet quickly turned sour for the Pride as the Aggies posted a .500 hitting percentage and added nineteen kills to win the set 25-14 and even the match up at one a piece.

Set three was similar to the first two sets as the Aggies took a commanding lead forcing the Pride to play catch up again. 

The Pride trailed 22-16 before scoring the next five points to pull within one, but the comeback fell short and the Aggies took the set 25-22. 

The fourth and final set was a back and forth match that saw nine tie scores and three lead changes, but in the end it was the Aggies coming away with the 25-23 win. The set was tied at 23 before a Pride attack error lead to match point for the Aggies allowing Allison Whitson to score the game clinching kill. 

"UC Davis was a tough team," said Hofstra head coach Kristina Hernandez. "We played them real well and it just came down to a few points. They just got voted into the top 25 so I'm happy with the way we played them."

The Pride did not have much time to think about that loss as they were right back at it on Saturday against Seattle University. 

Having come into the game on a six game losing streak, the team was looking to get back on the winning track against 3-10 Seattle. 

It did just that, recording a three sets to one victory. 

"It's good to get the monkey off your back," said Hernandez. "I think it's good that we dealt with a good chunk of disappointment."

In the first set the Pride relied heavily on its offense and it came through with a 25-21 victory as it killed 15 of 32 attempts. 

Seattle tied up the match with a 25-19 win in the second set. 

The Pride clamped down in the third set, allowing the Redhawks to record a mere .026 hitting percentage. 

The fourth set was much of the same and Hofstra won the set 25-21, winning the match and snapping its six game losing streak.

The second half of Hofstra's double-header was against the Air Force Academy. Riding its high from the morning victory the Pride decisively swept the now 3-10 Falcons. 

Hofstra won the first set 25-20, but the best was yet to come as the team seemed to get better as the game progressed. 

Having played a tough first set with a .159 hitting percentage the Pride increased its mark to a .346 percentage in the second set winning 25-13. 

The percentage was pushed even higher to .478 for the third and final set with a 25-19 score. 

Fueled by its potent offense, freshman outside hitter Kelsie Wills and Kinnier recorded eight kills apiece. 

 "She (Wills) had a great week," said Hernandez. "She did very well, but she's putting up some big numbers and I think defensively she did a lot better. She made some great defensive plays this weekend"

The Pride improves to 9-6 on the season after the west coast trip. 

"I think we had a good weekend," said Hernandez. "I think we bounced back pretty well from what we did against Missouri and Seton Hall and just coming back and playing well." 

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