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Volleyball riding high heading into CAA Tournament

By Angelo Brussich (Sports Editor)

The Hofstra Pride volleyball team has dropped only one set in its last four games, as it is riding a wave of momentum heading into the CAA tournament.

The Pride rolled over James Madison University after dropping the first set to come away with the 3-1 match victory.

In the season finale Hofstra pushed its CAA record to 6-6 and finished the season 18-13 overall.

“It was up and down,” said Hofstra head coach Kristina Hernandez about the season. “I think we started off really strong, then we had a little slump during the middle...but i’m glad to see that we’ve turned it around.”

Hofstra has held its destiny in its hands as the season was winding down, holding the coveted sixth spot in the conference with four games to play against teams either directly in front or behind them.

Not only did the Pride hold off those teams vying for its spot, but the Pride were able to jump up to fourth in the conference, avoiding a first round match-up with undefeated in conference, and tournament host Towson University.

Hofstra finished up its season with four straight wins over Georgia State, UNC Wilmington, George Mason and JMU, setting up a rematch for the Pride against fifth seed William and Mary in the CAA tournament.

“I’m happy that we are improving now this late in the season.” said Hernandez.

Hofstra will look to exact a little bit of revenge on the William and Mary Tribe, who defeated Hofstra 3-2 after the Pride held a 2-0 match lead.

“They’re excited. I think that they feel good and they’re happy to be there,” said Hernandez. “I know that they want to play William and Mary again, that was something that was really important for them.”

The key for the Pride will be to maintain a strong attack throughout, and to not let the Tribe get into any type of rhythm, which is what led to the Prides downfall the previous time these teams met.

“It’s really going to be important for us to be consistent throughout the entire match as far as what we’re doing and how we’re executing,” said Hernandez.

What’s the biggest factor if the Pride is looking to advance?

“Making sure that we serve aggressively,” said Hernandez. “I think that that’s a big part of our game and it’s something that kind of opens up everything else for us.”

Looking forward if the Pride are able to defeat the Tribe, the first place Towson Tigers await them Saturday with the tournament championship on Sunday.

“We want them (the team) to really focus on what we’re doing, and once we get to game day take a little bit of time on what adjustments we need to make.”

Hofstra has been relying on seniors outside hitter Nikki Kinnier, setter Catalina Charry and libero Kylee Maneja of late, and will need them to be in top form if it looks to win the CAA tournament this weekend.

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