Masciullo eyes 1,000 kills in sweep of St. Johns
Twenty-three is the magic number for junior Laura Masciullo as she looks to become the 16th player to reach 1,000 kills in Hofstra volleyball history. Her number continues to inch toward it after a 14-kill performance at local rival St. John’s University (8-4) as the Hofstra Pride (8-3) swept the Red Storm in straight sets.
St. John’s offense took an early 15-10 set one lead on the Pride but after a quick timeout, Hofstra used an 11-3 run to take the first set 25-22. The second set was closely contested, with Hofstra winning 25-23 after back and forth play. From there, the Pride took control to win set three 25-19, completing the sweep over the Red Storm.
Hofstra was led by Masciullo’s 14 kills. Masciullo also recorded three blocks and two digs. Newcomer Maddie Appleton contributed with three aces and 12 digs, while Luisa Sydlik racked up 31 assists with 10 digs of her own. Freshman Aisha Skinner recorded eight kills and Michela Rucli finished with seven kills and two blocks. Doris Bogoje held back the Red Storm offense, as she recorded five blocks.
For St. John’s, freshmen Efrosini Alexakou and Rachele Rastelli ended the game with 11 kills each. Erica Di Maulo had four blocks and 31 assists, while redshirt junior Nia Diaz also recorded four blocks.
“I think it was really a team effort,” said Hofstra head coach Emily Mansur. “When certain athletes were struggling, another one would come in and help.”
The Pride offense posted a .208 attack percentage compared to .135 by St. John’s. Almost all team stats were nearly identical during the match except for kills and digs. Hofstra outscored St. John’s in kills, going 38-36, but the Red Storm edged the Pride in digs 45-41. Both had seven blocks and posted 34 assists. At the end of the day, it was Hofstra that prevailed on offense.
This was the first meeting between the two teams since 2010 and with the win, Hofstra ties the all-time series 9-9.
“It’s definitely very important for both teams,” Mansur said. “These are two very good New York teams and you always want to win the rivalry.”
As for St. John’s, they have now lost three of their last four matches after starting the season 7-1.
With the win, Hofstra has won two of their last three matches as they head back home for the Hofstra Invitational. Mansur stated that one thing she is looking for from her team this weekend is consistency. Their first match will be against Dartmouth College on Friday, Sept. 14 at 6 p.m., which very well could be a historic game for the Pride volleyball team and Masciullo.
Photo courtesy of Hofstra Athletics