Mansur's dedication to coaching leads to 100th career win
For some, volleyball may be just another sport, but for Hofstra volleyball head coach Emily Mansur, it’s life.
From playing to coaching, Mansur has surrounded herself with the sport and made it her lifestyle. “Volleyball is the same as family. It’s one of the most important things I do in my life,” Mansur said.
A native of Governador Valadares, Minas Gerais, Brazil, Mansur saw her volleyball career go from Brazil all the way to Iona College. However, coaching wasn’t really an option until she first stepped on the court as a player for Iona. “Coming from Brazil, I never thought about [coaching] because as a female in Brazil you don’t see it. You may see one or two [coaches] around the country that [do] this at a very good level and can have a living,” Mansur said. “Once I arrived here, I had a chance when I was a sophomore in college to coach a club team and see that there were other woman coaching and that there were pretty intense coaches as women. Looking at that and seeing that there were opportunities for women really made me want to [coach].”
In her fifth season as the head coach at Hofstra, Mansur won her 100th match with the Pride on Sunday, Sept. 30, in a three-set sweep over the College of William & Mary. Mansur became just the second coach in Pride volleyball history to achieve 100 wins. “It was actually really funny. I didn’t know that was my 100th. I had zero idea,” Mansur said. “Someone told me at the beginning of the season that I was 13 away, but I had no idea. It’s pretty cool; it’s awesome. It’s every individual that’s here, the coaching staff that’s gone through it, but it wasn’t something I kept track of.”
After graduating from Iona in 2005, Mansur began her coaching career at Marist College in 2006 where she aided in practice and conditioning plans, assisted in scouting of opponents and in-game strategy and filmed games for the Gaels.
In her next endeavor, Mansur became an assistant coach for two Lusofona volleyball club teams based in Lisbon, Portugal. She was also the assistant coach for Lusofona’s 18’s team, which qualified for the Portuguese Final Four.
Following both of those stints across the Atlantic, Mansur returned to coach in the U.S. She was announced to be the head coach of Hofstra on May 7, 2013, after serving as an assistant the season prior. When announced as head coach, Mansur said, “We will continue to represent this great university well both on and off the court and I look forward to many outstanding and rewarding years ahead of the Pride.” In this regard, the Pride have definitely delivered.
In her first season at the helm, the Pride posted a 28-6 record including a NCAA Tournament appearance and Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Tournament Championship. The following season saw a CAA Regular Season Co-Championship for Hofstra behind a 21-11 record. In 2016, the Pride went 20-10, making it their third straight 20-win season. Last year saw a 18-14 mark, but with the addition of Maddie Appleton and Aisha Skinner this year, the Pride have stormed to a 13-5 start to their season.
Hofstra’s defense averages one more dig per set this season than last season. They also have held their opponents to an average .175 attack percentage. “Appleton really has been a tremendous asset for us,” Mansur said. “Our blockers are doing a much better job. Our middles have been tremendous and disciplined, but adding Maddie has been the big difference on defense.”
On the other side, the Pride offense has dismantled opponents this season, seeing improvements in nearly all categories from the previous season. Hofstra boasts leads in the CAA in hitting percentage, assists, kills and service aces.
At the head of the attack, the dynamic duo at the net of Laura Masciullo and Skinner have created havoc among opponents. “It’s been fun to have different attackers being able to come from the bench and score points and we’ve been seeing Laura put up great numbers. Aisha’s getting better each match also putting up great numbers and we need more players to continue that,” Mansur said.
With this renewed Pride team, Mansur believes the sky is the limit. “The goal is the same as always: to be the best we can be and get the ring at the end,” Mansur said. “It’s going to be a tough year; we have a lot of good teams in our conference, but we are going for the bling-bling.”
Mansur has continued the tradition and legacy of Hofstra volleyball during her tenure with the Pride.
“I really think it is a family business. Everybody has a responsibly,” Mansur said. “We take care of each other, we fight, we have good days, we have bad days; but at the end of the day, we care about the people around us.”
After achieving her 100th win, she already has her eyes on what is next to come for the Pride.
“We need to continue to build. To become a name that, when we get out of our region, people respect. We need to have our players be proud of playing [for] Hofstra volleyball.”
If the name on the uniform isn’t enough, it’s hard to believe that there will be a lack of pride among a Hofstra roster playing for a coach with 100 wins under her belt.
Photo courtesy of Cam Keough