By Mike Rudin and Kevin Carroll - SPORTS EDITOR and STAFF WRITER The Hofstra Pride went into Delaware and overpowered the FIghtin’ Blue Hens in four sets of the match on Friday. Nuria Lopez da Silva led the attacking front with a season high 18 kills on the night against University of Delaware.
Delaware went toe-to-toe with the Pride in the first two sets but Hofstra managed to grind out and win the first two sets 25-21 and 25-23.
The first set started with the Fightin’ Blue Hens pecking away at the Pride, taking the first 3 points in the set. Once both teams were tied at seven, Hofstra hit a groove, scoring five points in a row, propelling the Pride to 12-7. Hofstra maintained the at least a four point lead through the middle of the set until the 18-13 mark. The Pride killed any chance of Delware taking the first set as Emily Burke shot the final kill in the first set to give the Pride a 1-0 lead in the match.
Hofstra shot 15 kills in the first set and committed six errors, while Delaware shot 11 kills but committing eight errors in the set.
Delaware went into the second set trying to catch the Pride off guard and they executed their offensive play to take a 7-2 lead, thanks to a series of kills from the entire team. The Pride offense started to outscore Delaware at the 17-14 mark, scoring 6 of the next 9 points in the set, tying Delaware at 20. The Pride scored three more points in a row and split the last four points, finishing the set at 25-23.
Hofstra improved their lead to 2-0 and their set kill/error ratio, going up to 18 kills in the second set and committing six errors in the set again.
The third set became problematic for the Pride, as they dipped in kills with only eight in the set while committing nine errors. Delaware took advantage of the Pride’s lack of offensive production, scoring 10 kills and limiting the errors to four in the set. After a 6-1 lead by the Fightin’ Blue Hens, Delaware kept hitting bursts of streaks in the set until they scored the last three points they needed to take the third set 25-20 and cut the Pride’s lead to 2-1.
Hofstra ended any speculation of a Delaware comeback, taking the fourth set 25-15. After a 5-0 lead by Delaware, Hofstra took control outscoring the Fightin’ Blue Hens 25-10.
Nuria Lopes da Silva was responsible for 3 of the team’s blocks in the match and provided the catalyst to the Pride offense with 18 kills. Emily Burke was second in command on the offensive front with 14 kills and kelsie Wills shot 12 kills. Corrina Dellagdillo led the defensive front with 23 digs.
The Prides three-game winning streak was snapped on Friday night, as Hofstra was defeated by Towson three sets to one. The Tigers entered Friday’s contest right on the Pride’s heels in the CAA standings, and knew that a win over the favored Pride would draw them even closer to the top of the conference.
Towson certainly wasted no time, taking the first set handily, 25-18. The Tigers never trailed in the set, and Hofstra looked uncharacteristically sloppy, with multiple attack errors contributing to Towson’s triumph. Kelsie Wills led the attack for the Pride, along with sophomore Veronika Kostova, but Towson proved too much for the Pride to overcome early on.
The second set was a much closer affair, with 11 ties and seven lead changes, but again it was Towson coming out on top, this time by a score of 25-22. The Pride looked much better, cutting down on some of the errors that had cost them in the first set. The two teams wrestled for control in this set, Towson looked to take a commanding 2-0 lead, while Hofstra wanted to even things up and prevent the match from getting out of hand. The Pride lead 21-20 at one point, coming off of a service ace from Kaitlyn Krause, but the Tigers rattled off the next four points, withstood another kill from Kostova, and took the set.
Hofstra did not go quietly into the night, however. The third set saw the Pride playing the type of volleyball that has catapulted them to the top of the CAA, routing the Tigers 25-12. Wills began to elevate her game to another level, showing why she now has the most kills in Hofstra volleyball history, adding five more in the third set. Contributions were made all over the court for the Pride, and Towson looked thoroughly outmatched, making their own costly errors, both on the attack and on serves. Momentum started to shift in favor of the Pride, who played top-class volleyball for the first time in this match.
But any thoughts of a comeback for the ages were stomped out by Towson in the fourth set, securing the match with a 25-21 victory. Another back-and-forth affair, both squads jockeyed for control in what would turn out to be the decisive set in the match. A much cleaner effort from both teams resulted in some fantastic volleyball, but, unfortunately, the dice did not roll in Hofstra’s favor. The Pride led 21-20, but in a fashion similar to the second set, the Tigers put their foot on the gas, and cruised to victory, posting five consecutive points en route to the win in the final set.
Wills led the Pride with 18 kills, with Nuria Lopes da Silva adding 12 more. Hannah Klemm had a fantastic game, chocking up a staggering 43 assists in the match. Kostova and Emily Burke chipped in nine and eight kills, respectively.
For the Tigers, the attack was led by Saituia Iosia, who had 18 kills, followed by Victoria Williams with 14. Paige Sekerak led all players with 17 digs.
Hofstra drops to 25-4 on the year, with a 10-2 mark in conference play. Towson improves to 23-3, with a CAA record of 9-2, only a half game back of the Pride.
Next up for Hofstra will be a non-conference matchup against Sacred Heart, a team who gave Hofstra its second loss back in September, and will no doubt be a dangerous game for the Pride. That match will be played on Tuesday, Nov. 4, at the Mack Physical Education Center.