Volleyball: Game one struggles haunt Northeastern

By Jewel Della Valle

The volleyball team fell to No. 1 Hofstra this Saturday despite junior middle hitter Kira Batura posting her fifth consecutive double-double and eighth of the season.

This was the second time the Huskies faced first-place Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) opponent Hofstra and the second time they were defeated 3-1.

Despite the ranking, Batura said the Huskies still felt confident they could win the match.

“We went into the game thinking that we had nothing to lose and they had everything [to lose] because they are No. 1,” Batura said. “Everyone knew it was getting to them and we were definitely going to try to give it our all.”

Northeastern struggled in game one, a theme that has haunted them all season. Of 18 matches played, the Huskies have only won game one five times, all of which turned out to be match wins.

“We talked about [our game one] struggles a lot and it’s for different reasons in different matches,” head coach Ken Nichols said. “One of the things we try and do is try to get off to a perfect start. … You don’t have to play perfect right from the get-go. A lot of times we get into the second game and we play a little better because somehow the pressure’s off us in a strange sort of way. … We have to stop getting ourselves in a situation where we’ve got to win three in a row or win in five.”

The Huskies lost game one 24-30, won game two 30-24, but lost games three and four (23-30, 26-30) for a match defeat. Though the Huskies lost in the same number of games as the first time they played Hofstra, the scores were more even this time.

“Our expectations were basically just to play better than we did last time against them,” said senior co-captain Ashley Reeves. “I think for the most part we did play better than we did last time, which is a good stepping stone and I think we made good adjustments against them also, which is good the second time around in conference.”

Senior co-captain Whitney Turner said the passing game was good but broke down in game four, but otherwise she wasn’t sure why the Huskies lost.

“[Hofstra] is a good team and there’s a way to beat them but we couldn’t,” Turner said. “I don’t know, I’m confused why we lost.”

The Huskies hit .263 and .295 in games one and two, respectively, but managed just .119 and .182 hitting percentages in games three and four.

Northeastern totaled more digs and more team blocks than Hofstra and hit .217 to Hofstra’s .253, but it wasn’t enough to beat the Pride.

Nichols said the Huskies’ major weak spot in the game was serving and the inability to stop Hofstra from long scoring stretches.

“The box score was pretty much a wash except a little difference in hitting percentage,” Nichols said. “The other thing we didn’t do well was spot-serve, which is not something indicative of the raw stats. We have to be able to put the ball in places where it takes the advantage away from a team’s ability to side out.”

Batura said the lack of consistency in the match led to Northeastern’s downfall.

“At times we played well and then there were times that we didn’t,” Batura said. “The times that we didn’t, we didn’t play good for too long in the match, so we couldn’t make up the point deficit. We did some things well. We blocked pretty well at times, we passed pretty well at times. It just wasn’t consistent throughout the whole match.”

Batura and Reeves tied for the Husky lead in kills with 11 each. Sophomore middle hitter Brittany Eukovich hit for a match-high .615 attacking percentage. Batura led in digs with 18 and senior setter Ivana Pavlisin led in assists with 26.

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