HEMPSTEAD, NY September 29, 2013 – College of Charleston prevailed in a battle of CAA powers on Sunday afternoon, taking a five-set thriller over defending CAA champion Hofstra, 3-2 (25-19, 26-28, 25-21, 23-25, 15-12).
Charleston (12-4, 2-0) lived up to its preseason billing as the conference’s top team by taking down conference powers Northeastern and Hofstra (10-6, 1-1) on the road in the opening weekend of CAA play.
After snapping Northeastern’s 23-match home winning streak on Friday, the Cougars snapped Hofstra’s nine-match winning streak on Sunday afternoon.
Charleston hit .303 as a team and tallied more digs than the Pride, 51-44. Hofstra was strong at the net with 16.5 blocks.
Darcy Dorton led Charleston with 19 kills and five digs. Cara Howley had 15 kills and a .480 hitting percentage, while Sloane White came up huge in the final set, getting 13 total kills and a .360 attack mark.
Melissa Morello tallied a double-double with 12 kills and 13 digs, while Kallie McKown had 10 digs and 30 assists for yet another double-double. Kerstin Koehler had five blocks and seven kills in the middle.
Conference heavyweight outside hitter Kelsie Wills led all players with 22 kills and 10 digs.
College of Charleston built an early lead off a 6-0 run to go up 14-9 in the first set. Although Hofstra responded to tie the set at 18, CofC finished with seven of the last eight points for the 25-19 set victory. Charleston returned to its efficient hitting with a .379 hitting percentage, limiting attacking errors that plagued the Cougars against Northeastern. Dorton tallied six kills, while Morello had six digs.
Despite a .412 CofC hitting percentage in the second set, Charleston and Hofstra played even throughout most of the second set, trading points from 15-15 to 19-19. A block from Emily Neideffer gave Charleston a 21-19 lead, and a kill from the senior just a few points later had CofC at set point, 24-23. Hofstra had set point at 26-25, but served long to give CofC life. Emily Burke tallied a Pride kill and then two HU players blocked a White slide for the 28-26 set victory for the home team.
The third set played similarly to the first frame, with Charleston maintaining a slight lead throughout and never trailing. Hofstra used five kills from Wills to stay close and force a CofC timeout at 20-18. Burke pulled the Pride to within 20-19, but then Wills served into the net to stop the run. Charleston used the momentum to start running and kills from Howley, Koehler and Dorton ended the set at 25-21 for Charleston.
Hofstra hit .393 in the fourth set and took an early 15-11 lead with CofC out of sorts. However, Charleston rallied for a tie score at 17, 18 and 19. Kills from Dorton and White tied it again at 22. However, a kill from Jovana Barisic and an error from Dorton gave the Pride set point at 24-22. White won a point to make it 24-23, but a Hofstra kill ended it to send to a fifth set.
CofC seemed in control in the fifth set, leading 8-3 at the turn. However, in the epic nature of the match, Hofstra came back to tie it at 10. A late run from the Cougars ended the match on a service ace that bounced off the net and in, 15-12.
Charleston stays on the road in the CAA on Friday with a match at JMU.