Appleton leads Hofstra to win over Dartmouth
The Hofstra Pride volleyball team rallied back from a one-set deficit to take down Dartmouth College in four sets at home on Friday, Sept. 14, at 6 p.m.
Set scores were 20-25, 25-20, 25-19 and 25-13.
During the first set, Dartmouth played gritty defensively and dominated the net, even being able to catch Hofstra napping at one point by scoring on a play where the ball deflected off the ceiling and stayed in play. This tenacity gave the Big Green the early lead through the first set.
Although Hofstra began the game slowly, they began to pick up the pace in the second set as an increase of energy at the defensive end led to a shift in momentum.
"We picked it up a little bit on the defensive side, which gave us a little bit more resilience and fight and I think that was a difference,” said Hofstra head coach Emily Mansur. “We really did not come out pumped to play, and that is something we need to step up from the beginning."
This newfound energy led to Hofstra taking the second set as freshman Maddie Appleton took on a big role for the Pride. Appleton, the team leader in digs, broke her own career record of 20 by collecting 31 digs on Friday.
"This is really exciting," Mansur said of Appleton’s performance. "She took charge. She was going for everything, and she was much better at seeing the game. This for me was the highlight of the match."
The momentum from the electric second set carried into the third, where Hofstra kicked things off with a 5-0 run. Dartmouth attempted to close the gap, but the connection between juniors Luisa Sydlik and Laura Masciullo held off the Big Green and led to Hofstra taking the set with a solid six-point cushion.
The fourth set was a battle from start to finish for both sides, with Dartmouth scrapping for every point in their efforts to force a fifth set. Hofstra, however, had a different idea as their defensive anchor, Doris Bogoje, had two huge blocks to help the Pride take the final set 25-23 in a complete nail-biter to the very end.
Luisa Sydlik played a massive role for the Pride, tallying 57 assists. That put her eighth all-time for Hofstra with 2,318.
On the attacking end, Hofstra was led by Masciullo, Michela Rucli and Aisha Skinner. They had 17, 13 and 13 kills respectively, while Rucli led the bunch in attacking percentage at .500.
Hofstra will now look forward to the opening of conference play. They kick off their Colonial Athletic Association schedule next Saturday, Sept. 22 at 12 p.m. on the road against James Madison University.
Image courtesy of Hofstra Athletics