By Anders Jorstad - STAFF WRITER
The Hofstra women’s volleyball team continued its winning streak with a 3-0 set sweep of William & Mary on the road Friday. The win pushed the Pride to their 10th consecutive victory, and clearly showed that the team has figured out a formula that’s working for them, as the Pride swept in 12 of their 19 victories.
Kelsie Wills led the way on offense with 19.5 points on 18 kills and also helped her squad on defense with 11 digs for the match. In addition, four players tallied double digits in points: Emily Burke (10), Veronika Kostova (10), Nuria Lopes da Silva (11), and Wills.
Hannah Klemm pitched in with team-high 39 assists and is currently 18th in the nation in assists per set with 11.26. Meanwhile, Sophia Black was key on the defensive end with 13 digs.
This certainly isn’t the first time we’ve seen the team rely on Kostova and Lopes da Silva, who showed what kind of force they can be on the court with their superb play last week. A balanced offensive approach with multiple scoring threats is extremely dangerous and one like this will surely frustrate defenses all across the country.
The Pride have done well in limiting their errors against opponents this year, committing 400 errors while other teams made 455 in total so far. Although one aspect was the Pride struggled with blocking errors against the competition. The team has currently made 50 blocking errors while other teams only committed 33. Serve errors are also a problem for the Pride, committing 186 serve errors this season while opponents have made 146.
While the superiority over the Tribe (6-17, 2-6 in CAA) comes to little surprise, the Pride, unable to capitalize on Saturday and fell to the Dukes in three sets. The loss marks the first time all season the team has been swept and only their third total loss of the year. The defeat, which snapped their 10-game winning streak, was unexpected considering James Madison (12-9, 4-4 in CAA play), was not considered to be a strong favorite over the Pride.
Hofstra was simply overmatched in this game. The Pride managed to keep it close in the first set of the match (20-25), before losing the grip in the second set (16-25). The team kept fighting hard but was unable to take a close, extended third set (29-31), losing their first conference match of the season.
Once again, it was Hofstra’s lack of defensive effort that proved to be its downfall. The squad managed just five team blocks and allowed the Dukes’ outside hitter Lizzy Briones to 13 points on 11 kills and a .500 attack percentage.
In fact, three James Madison players had attack percentages of .400 or higher (Janey Goodman with .421, Conner Beightol with .600, Sarah Patterson with .500, and Briones) and the team as a whole had a .308 attack percentage.
In addition to their struggles on defense, the Pride was unable to execute an effective attack plan. Kelsie Wills led the team in points (16) and attack percentage (.250).
Hofstra floundered beyond that, mustering just a .165 attack percentage as a team. James Madison deserves credit for containing the Pride’s four-way attack as Wills, Veronika Kostova, Nuria Lopes da Silva and Emily Burke all had plenty of touches on offense.
Hofstra escaped with its conference lead (7-1), but will need to work on some things in practice if it wants to maintain it. Coach Mansur will have a week with her squad before the team’s next game on Friday, a home game against UNC-Wilmington. With just a month left before the conference tournament begins, these next games will be crucial in deciding the Pride’s fate.