Few matchups could be as deserving a choice for a home opener as the Battle of Long Island.
Following two weeks of tournament play, the Stony Brook volleyball team returned home to Pritchard Gymnasium on Tuesday, Sept. 7. The task ahead of them was a meaningful yet daunting one. In a rivalry historically dominated by one team, the trends continued as the Hofstra Pride took down the Seawolves in straight sets.
The disheartening sweep dropped Stony Brook’s all-time record against Hofstra to 1-11. The Seawolves’ lone win in the series came back in 1999, the program’s first year in Division I. Stony Brook has yet to come out on top since the two schools began scheduling each other every season in 2014.
Hofstra jumped ahead early in the first set by scoring the first four points. The Pride built and extended their lead off of a multitude of Seawolves miscues, with six attack errors, three service errors, a poor set and an ace comprising 11 of Hofstra’s first 14 points scored. Stony Brook scored enough to stay within striking distance midway through the frame, but Hofstra pulled away after some more Seawolves’ errors to take the first set 25-16.
Set two featured a more back-and-forth battle between the two teams, but Stony Brook was in an excellent position to win it, up 21-20 late. Instead, the Pride notched four kills — three from graduate outside hitter Ana Martinovic — and a service ace to score five of the final seven points in the set for a 25-23 win.
Both squads traded extended runs in the third set. The Seawolves assumed control with five unanswered points to take a 14-10 lead before the Pride tied it up with four straight scores of their own. This began a stretch of six consecutive runs of at least three points in a row; each team had three of the six. Facing match point, junior outside hitter Amiyah De’Long’s kill cut the deficit to 24-23, but Pride junior middle blocker Athina Dimitriadis finished the sweep for Hofstra with her second kill of the night.
Stony Brook and Hofstra each recorded 33 kills, 20 errors and seven blocks, but it was the Pride’s 10-1 advantage in aces that proved to be a huge difference-maker. De’Long and sophomore outside hitter Leoni Kunz led the Seawolves with 11 kills in the match, with Kunz also recording 12 digs for her third double-double of the season.
The Seawolves host the Stony Brook Invitational on Friday, Sept. 10 and Saturday, Sept. 11, where they will face Tarleton State, Yale and St. Thomas at Pritchard Gymnasium, looking to add to their win total in quick succession.