Pioneers Drop Four-Set Match To Hofstra

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The Sacred Heart women's volleyball team had its brief two-match winning streak snapped Tuesday at the Pitt Center, losing 3-1 (22-25, 25-21, 22-25, 16-25) to the Hofstra Pride.

Dianis Mercado (Vega Baja, P.R.) led the Pioneers with 18 kills and 12 digs. Sarah Krufka (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) added eight kills. Setter Alisa Mesa (Long Beach, Calif.) had 38 assists. Sacred Heart hit just .044 for the match and had 17 service errors.

Sacred Heart (11-10) jumped out to a quick 6-3 lead in the opening set and used a three-point run on kills by Mercado and Marie Zimmerman (Denver, Colo.) to go ahead 16-12. The Pioneers led 20-17 before an Emily Burke kill sparked a 4-0 run for Hofstra (14-9), putting the Pride in the lead 21-20. Sacred Heart used a kill by Mercado and a block by Krufka and Jene Lee (San Dimas, Calif.) to go up 22-21, but the Pioneers stalled from there. Hofstra won the next four points to win the set 25-22, capping it off with a kill by Jovana Barisic.

Just as in the first set, the Pioneers got out to an early lead in the second. Sacred Heart took an 8-5 lead on a Zimmerman ace before Hofstra went on a 4-0 run to go up 9-8. The Pioneers regained the lead at 10-9 and extended the lead to 15-11 after a block by Allison Riggs (Anaheim, Calif.) and Karly Shockey (Chino Hills, Calif.). Sacred Heart took its largest lead of the set at 22-15 on a Mercado kill. Hofstra closed to within two points at 23-21, but a Krufka kill and a Pride error gave Sacred Heart the set 25-21 and leveled the match at a set apiece.

The two sides traded points to start the third set, playing to an 8-8 tie. Mercado broke the tie with back-to-back kills as the Pioneers took a 12-8 lead. Sacred Heart led 15-12 before a Kelsie Wills kill started a 3-0 Hofstra run to tie the set at 15-15. The set was also tied at 18-18, 20-20, and 22-22. Hofstra then got a Wills kill to take a 23-22 lead, followed by a block and a Sacred Heart error to win the third set 25-22 and take a 2-1 lead in the match.

The Pride used back-to-back blocks by Sara Campolina and Veronika Kostova to go on a 5-0 run early in the fourth set to take a 7-3 lead. Hofstra extended the lead to seven, 14-7, on a block by Nuria Lopes da Silva and Kaitlyn Krause. The Pride had seven blocks in the fourth set as neither team had a positive hitting percentage in the set. The Pioneers got as close as six points in the set, but the Hofstra front line defense proved too much as the Pride won the set 25-16 and the match 3-1.

Hofstra hit .054 for the match to Sacred Heart's .044. The Pride, however, had 17 blocks to Sacred Heart's six. The Pioneers outdug Hofstra 43-41. Wills led the Pride with 14 kills and was in on six blocks.

Sacred Heart is back in action at the Pitt Center on Saturday, Oct. 26 with a 5 p.m. match against St. Francis Brooklyn.