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Volleyball avoids third straight shutout loss, still comes up short at Delaware

By Angelo Brussich (Sports Editor)

Staring a third straight 3-0 set loss, the Hofstra volleyball team fought itself back from 2-0 down against the Delaware Blue Hens to tie the match 2-2, only to have its comeback fall short in the fifth and final set Saturday night at the Bob Carpenter Center in Delaware. The loss was the fourth straight for Hofstra (14-13, 2-6 Colonial Athletic Association (CAA)) and has Hofstra tied for seventh place in CAA play, one out of the top six finish needed to make the CAA tournament. Teams don’t usually like to use moral victories, but for Hofstra head coach Kristina Hernandez it was nice to see her team get back to doing what had made them successful in the beginning of the year. “I was happy; our hitting got a little bit better [as did] our blocking,” said Hernandez. “It was nice to be able to see some things that I think we may have lost a little bit and we need to be better at.” After falling 25-23 and 25-22 in the closely contested first two sets against third place Delaware (12-12, 6-2 CAA), Hofstra was able to come away with a 25-23 third-set victory to give the Pride  the bit of positivity the team seemed to need. The Pride hit at its best hitting percentage in the fourth set, coming up with a 0.369 clip and never trailing in the set. Hofstra would come away with the 25-18 victory to force a deciding fifth set. Sophomore outside hitter Kelsie Wills and junior outside hitter Nikki Kinnier lead the Pride with 18 and 17 kills each, while senior setter Catalina Charry tallied her 12th double-double of the season with 46 assists and 17 digs. Senior libero Kylee Mineja recorded 32 digs, breaking the 30-dig mark for the second time this season. The Pride rode the wave of momentum through the first half of the fifth set, jumping out to a 8-6 lead, only to see the Blue Hens ride a 4-0 run to take the lead and never look back, taking the set 15-11. “Obviously it was disappointing to lose that match, but it was nice to see us come back and fight, and to see us play really good defense,” said Hernandez. “As disappointing as the loss was, I was happy to see some good things come out of the match.” For the Pride, it comes down to a final four games, with three of the four teams fighting for that sixth and final spot to make the CAA tournament. “They know what we need to do to get in there,” said Hernandez. “We want to make sure that we’re keeping our spirits up. We’ve got four matches here and we need to do some really good things out here in the stretch.”

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