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Volleyball heating up down the stretch

By Scott Burgess (Special to the Chronicle) The Hofstra volleyball team is rolling after its second consecutive 3-0 win this Saturday. After defeating Georgia State in three straight sets on senior night, the Pride traveled to conference opponent UNC-Wilmington. Hofstra has been leaning on the leadership of its seniors on and off the court this season. Heading into senior night against Georgia State the team was riding a four-game losing streak and found themselves in a must win situation to keep its CAA tournament hopes alive. After going up 3-0 early in the first set, the pride never looked back winning 25-18. The second set was much closer, tied 21-21 late, but a powerful kill by senior Nikki Kinnier put the pride up 22-21 and was enough to propel the pride to a 2-0 match lead. Coming out of halftime it was up to the senior leadership to keep the team rolling. Down 8-12 senior Catalina Charry made a diving dig to save the ball and set up Kinnier for yet another kill. In similar fashion, down 13-14, Catalina made another big dig which found its way passed the Georgia State players and fell just inside the far corner to tie the match at 14-14. The two teams would continue to battle back and forth, but every time Georgia State tried to pull away, Kinnier stepped up. “Nikki did a really awesome job for us tonight” said head coach Kristina Hernandez during her post-game interview. She went on to add, “She scored a lot of points for us and definitely ended almost every set for us.” Nikki and the players around her seemed to thrive of the energy of the crowd late. “It was obviously an emotional night,” said Hernandez. “but they (the seniors) gave us that kick when we needed to make a final push.” Kinnier finished the night with 21 kills and 23 points in a match that went only three sets. Not to be out done, the underclassmen took the lead headed into North Carolina where they faced UNC Wilmington. Sophomore outside hitter Kelsie Wills lead the Pride with 15.5 points followed by Kinnier who added 12 points and junior Sara Campolina was able to chip in 10 points of her own. Hofstra rolled to a 3-0 win and added another big conference win to its record. The team is now 15-13 overall with a 4-6 record in conference. Only two games remain on the prides schedule including one this Friday at George Mason. The Pride currently are fifth in the Colonial Athletic Association, and finds itself holding it’s own destiny in it’s hands with two games to play.

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