Hofstra beats Towson in thriller, advances to Tournament final
Hofstra volleyball was able to hold off a late comeback by Towson University in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Tournament semi-finals on Saturday, Nov. 17, to advance to the tournament finals against James Madison University. The Pride took down Towson in five sets with set scores of 25-23, 25-22, 15-25, 23-25 and 15-10.
The Pride came out in the beginning with an intensity that set them up to take the victory.
“It’s championship time,” said Hofstra head coach Emily Mansur. “Everyone that is here is ready to play and ready to compete. This is a special group. We have a great group of seniors and we [are] ready.”
The Pride was led by CAA Freshman of the Year award winner Aisha Skinner, who put up a match-high 19 kills. CAA First Team member Laura Masciullo tallied 16 kills, while senior Michela Rucli had 13 kills and five blocks. However, Hofstra’s offense was inconsistent during the match and looked lackluster at times.
“We have been better,” Mansur said. “We pulled out a win. I think we are going to be a stronger team tomorrow because we are going to have everybody involved. I think that makes a big difference for us as a team – having each player ready to go and each player ready to get as many kills as they can.”
After taking the first two sets, Hofstra seemed to lack the ability to close, dropping the next two.
“Especially today, there is no tomorrow if we don’t get it done in the fifth set and that is all we focus on for each other [and] with each other to make that happen,” Mansur said. “There really is no tomorrow if we [cannot] pull out that fifth set.”
CAA Setter of the Year Luisa Sydlik had 57 assists and 13 digs for the Pride. Freshman Maddie Appleton had 14 digs for the Pride, while senior Doris Bogoje led the Pride with six blocks.
Senior Nanishka Perez played a big role for the Pride late in this one. Perez tallied eight kills, two blocks and two aces.
“[Perez] rolls with the occasion,” Mansur said. “She got better as the match progressed. She was pretty solid on how she passed and blocked. That’s what we were looking for from her. In the end, she got some better kills and that was the difference between winning and losing.”
The Pride will look to finish the CAA Tournament with a win against James Madison in the championship round to secure themselves a spot in the NCAA Tournament. This would be Hofstra’s first trip to the NCAA tournament since 2014.
Photo Courtesy of Hofstra Athletics