The AU volleyball team finished up its non-conference schedule by falling to Hofstra University in three sets on the final day of the Hofstra/Stony Brook Invitational this past weekend. The Eagles won four-set matches against Stony Brook University and Indiana University- Purdue University Fort Wayne on the first day of competition on Friday in Stony Brook, New York.
Sophomore outside hitter Aleksandra Kazala lead the young Eagles team offensively over the three matches, averaging 17.3 kills per match over the two day invitational, including 22 kills in the 33-31, 23-25, 25-14, 25-21 victory over Fort Wayne (8-4). Freshman outside hitter Shannon Webb added 12 kills and 13 digs for the Eagles in their first match on Friday.
Kazala and Webb were again the standout performers in the 25-21, 20-25, 25-19, 25-15 victory against Stony Brook (2-10), with Webb recording her second double-double by recording 13 kills and 12 digs. Sophomore setter Kennedy Etheridge added 41 assists.
The Eagles have battled injuries through the non-conference schedule, and used a limited lineup against Stony Brook and Indiana University- Purdue University Fort Wayne.
“With our team being down to eight players available, two of whom are playing through pain, we found a way to make things work,” head coach Barry Goldberg said after the matches Friday to aueagles.com. “A lot of respect is being earned between the players, as we continue to get to know each other better."
Against Hofstra (10-3), the Eagles struggled and no player recorded double-digit kills, digs or blocks in the 25-12, 25-18, 25-13 defeat.
Kazala and freshman middle blocker Vela McBride, who averaged eight kills in two matches, were named to the all-tournament team. For Kazala, it marked her third all-tournament team of the season, after receiving honors in the Panther Invitational at the University of Pittsburgh and in The Shore’s Courtland Classic in Princess Anne, Maryland. McBride did not play in the Hofstra match due to knee pain and the Eagles experienced difficulty without her in the rotation, Goldberg said.
AU returns home to open Patriot League play Friday September 23 against Bucknell at 7:00pm. The Eagles are the defending Patriot League regular season and tournament champions.