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Hofstra battles Elon to five-set victory

The Hofstra volleyball team kept pace in the CAA standings with a tight five-set victory over Elon University Friday, Nov. 11 to end the regular season.

A 10-6 conference record puts the Pride in a four-way tie with Towson University, Northeastern University and the College of Charleston for second place in the CAA.

Despite a five point swing in the first set for Hofstra early on, Elon responded by going on an 11-3 run to seal the opener.

The Pride answered back with wins in the second and third set led by Laura Masciullo, Hannah Klemm, Luisa Sydlik and Michela Rucli.

Masciullo was a pest for the Phoenix all game long, logging 14 kills in the match and 374 total in her freshman campaign. Averaging 3.37 kills per set, Masciullo ranks third in the conference behind seniors Jessica Lewis of Towson and Janey Goodman of James Madison University. This was Masciullo’s first match with double digit kills since Oct. 30 against Charleston, where she finished with 11.

Klemm and Sydlik combined for 47 assists in the match – Sydlik led with 25. Klemm’s 22 assist performance marks the 25th time this season she totaled 20 or more in a single match, adding up to 834, which is good enough for a top five spot in the Colonial.

The CAA’s leader in hitting percentage, Rucli, played a consistent game with 10 kills and seven blocks.

The Phoenix gave Hofstra a tough fourth set, scoring four consecutive points at three different times in the frame and forcing the deciding fifth set.

Down 5-2, Hofstra roared back with six straight points, giving the Pride a comfortable 8-5 lead. Elon, however, returned with five unanswered points of its own, now a 10-8 score in its favor.

The next five volleys went back and forth between Hofstra and Elon, now 12-11 in Elon’s favor.

Masciullo then tied it up at 12 with a kill, followed by an attack error from Elon.

Two volleys later, Hofstra closed it out with another kill from Masciullo and another attack error by Elon.

For the Pride, Veronika Kostova added 10 kills and five blocks and Nanishka Perez tallied nine kills.

Hofstra returns to action in the conference tournament as the fourth seed. The Pride takes on Towson in the opening round Friday, Nov. 18 at 4 p.m.

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