By Michael Otero
The LIU Post women’s volleyball squad (13-8) returned to action on Thursday, Oct. 16 when they played East Coast Conference rival Mercy College (4-17). The Pioneers made quick work of the Mavericks, defeating them in three sets at the Pratt Recreation Center in Brookville, N.Y. on “Dig Pink” night. The event is a national breast cancer rally that is orchestrated by collegiate volleyball teams from around the country.
The Pioneers jumped out to an 8-5 advantage in the first set, but extended their lead by securing five of the next seven points. The combination of junior setter Monica Amador and freshman middle blocker Danielle Valenza contributed three aces to the run for the Green and Gold. The Pioneers cruised to a 25-15 first set victory. The second set was a lot closer, as both sides were deadlocked at nine. With momentum hanging in the balance, the Pioneers ceased the opportunity and went on a 6-1 spurt to go ahead 15-10 in the set. The Mavericks fought back, though, cutting the deficit to 17-15 at one point, but LIU stayed composed and closed out the set on an 8-2 run. Valenza provided two kills, including the set winner during that span.
The final set featured a combined 19 ties and eight lead changes, as neither side seemed to be able to grab the upper hand. The back-and- fourth battle in the third set had its final tie at 23 apiece, until Valenza earned match point for her team. The Mavericks however, kept the game going for a short while with a kill. Two points later, the hosts earned their fourth straight victory as they clinched the deciding set 26-24.
Graduate outside hitter Katie Hudencial notched the match-winning kill. Freshman middle blocker Heather Ball had two aces and a pair of blocks to go with her staggering .450 hit percentage on the day. Sophomore middle hitter Analise Austin accumulated eight digs and two aces, while junior middle hitter Melissa Hansen recorded six kills.
The Pioneers returned to action on Saturday, Oct. 18, when they battled with the Knights from Queens College (8-10). The Pioneers cruised to a 3-0 victory, which was their second straight shutout, their fourth shutout in their last five matches, and their fifth straight win overall.
In the first set, LIU was powered by two separate spurts on offense. A 6-2 run early on and a 6-1 run to close out the set by the Pioneers set the tone for the match. In a tightly contested second set that saw eight ties and three lead changes, the two sides needed extra points to decide a set winner. The visitors came out on top, due in part to a key block from senior middle blocker Heather Adams to help secure the 27- 25 win.
The third and final set was dominated by the Pioneers, as they went up 11-6 and never looked back. The closest the Knights came after that point in time was four points.
Head Coach Shellane Ogoshi and her team are back in action on Thursday, Oct. 23, when they play host to the Lions from Molloy College. First serve is scheduled for 6 p.m.