Masciullo earns 1,000th kill in loss to Columbia
In a dramatic five-set thriller on Saturday, Sept. 15, the Hofstra Pride volleyball team fell just short, losing to the Columbia University Lions three sets to two.
Set scores were 25-21, 25-21, 13-25, 17-25 and 15-13.
For the first two sets of the match, the Pride looked as though they would fail to put enough quality points together to even win a set, despite having had their moments. Regardless, they were able to turn that around.
After lacking crisp play and cohesiveness through the first two sets, which resulted in a dire 2-0 deficit, the Pride showed remarkable resilience and fought back to tie the match at two sets apiece.
The game was a match of runs by both sides, with Columbia outplaying the Pride in the middle stretch of each of the first two sets. Although it was very evenly matched through the first part of the set, Columbia would pull away in the teens and Hofstra just wouldn’t have enough time to climb all the way back.
A huge key to Hofstra’s comeback in sets three and four was their star attacker, Laura Masciullo, who had an astonishing 28 kills to help keep her team afloat in the match, ultimately bringing them back.
On the defensive side, libero Maddie Appleton led the Pride’s gutsy defense, keeping them in the game throughout numerous points. Each team made themselves incredibly difficult to put away throughout, putting forth phenomenal efforts and repeatedly diving for balls all over the court.
After coming up short in the first two sets, Hofstra stormed back. The Pride dominated the third set from start to finish, going on two separate six to two runs to start the set, before coolly winning 13 of the next 22 points to close the set comfortably at 25-13.
This set had to be exactly what head coach Emily Mansur was looking for, with crisp passing, a well-balanced mix of spiking the ball and finesse-type shots, along with intense, ferocious defense.
The Pride continued their momentum into the fourth set, sprinting out to a 10-3 lead before cruising to a 25-17 set win, setting the stage for a deciding fifth set.
Ultimately, despite Hofstra’s valiant comeback, Columbia won by the skin of their teeth after a back-and-forth final set that ended15-13.
“We have to push at the beginning of practice and we have to find a way to get the fire going in players besides Laura Masciullo,” Mansur said. “She’s the only one today who showed up ready to play. We need more people to want to do that. Every match is extremely important. Every match is a preparation, and we failed. We failed as a group.”
Hofstra had 10 serves either go into the net or travel out of bounds in the game, including the clinching point in the second set. Cutting out their unforced errors will be key if they want to win close games going forward.
Perhaps the biggest positive takeaway from the game for the Pride was Masciullo becoming the 16th player in Hofstra history with 1000 kills – a feat she achieved on her sixth kill of the game.
“She’s a great player for us. She gets the job done,” Mansur said. “When she’s on the court, we have been up by a lot of points. Now us, as a group, we’ve got to supplement that, and everybody has to take a little bit of the leadership. It just shows the player that she is. It’s a great accomplishment for her and for our program.”
Image courtesy of Hofstra Athletics