The last time Hofstra volleyball was not taking part in its conference championships George H.W Bush was in the White House and the Internet was still in its infancy stages but after today’s Halloween matinee loss to Northeastern, the Pride’s 16-year postseason streak is in serious jeopardy. The Huskies made the clutch plays when they mattered most in a four-set win at the Physical Fitness Center that puts Hofstra three games behind George Mason for the fourth and final CAA playoff spot with only four matches remaining.
Northeastern, which knocked off Hofstra twice last season including a season-ender in the CAA semifinals, continued to be a thorn in the Pride’s side winning today’s critical conference match 3-1 by scores of 25-22, 19-25, 25-20 and 25-22. The loss ends Hofstra’s two-match winning streak and gives Northeastern a one-game edge for fifth place in the CAA standings. Hofstra had defeated Northeastern earlier this season in Boston 3-1.
“We got off to some really slow starts and we let too many strings of points go,” said Hofstra head women’s volleyball coach Kristina Hernandez moments after today’s loss dropped the Pride to 10-18 and 4-6 in the CAA. “It comes down to passing and serving and we didn’t do any of those extremely well today.”
In the fourth set with Hofstra up 19-17 the match appeared like it may be bound for a fifth and deciding set. However Northeastern proceeded to score six straight points including five served up by Christine Kubik in route to the 25-22 fourth set win that clinched a joyous bus ride back to Beantown for the Huskies.
Hofstra has qualified for the CAA playoffs eight straight years since joining the conference in 2001 but will now likely need to win its final four matches and have some teams in front of them lose in order to keep that streak alive. Hofstra has made the conference playoffs for the past 16 years dating back to its days in the America East and East Coast Conference with the last year of no postseason play coming in 1992.
“We have got six losses right now so we have to see what the top four do and just go from there,” said Hernandez of the Pride’s grim CAA playoff hopes.
In today’s losing effort senior outside hitter Monica Knight continued her stellar play with a team best 14 kills along with eight digs and two blocks. Also stepping up their games for Hofstra today were senior setter Chrissey Cruz with 33 assists and 10 digs for her 19th double-double this season and junior middle blocker Anissa Whitney, who had eight kills, six blocks, five digs and two service aces.
Hofstra has its final four matches at the Physical Fitness Center starting Friday Nov. 6 for a 7 p.m. tilt against Georgia State followed by hosting UNC-Wilmington two days later at 1 p.m. The Pride’s final weekend of the regular season will features home matches against Towson on Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. and Delaware on Nov. 15 at 1 p.m. The CAA Championships are scheduled for Nov. 21-22 at the highest seed.