At the start of training for this season, Hofstra University volleyball head coach Emily Mansur was focused on imparting certain fundamentals and style of play to her young team. When the team struggled a bit, she reevaluated her approach.

“We usually do a lot of team work, a lot of team bonding. We request them to spend time together. I dove so much into the volleyball once they got here, that I didn’t require so much of the extra activity outside of the court, like team dinners. Once I realized that we were missing the chemistry…I sat down with our leadership group and they agreed they needed a little more of that,” said Mansur.

Team dinners and outside activities are now a frequent part of the schedule, so the players can get to know each other on a personal level. Phones are not allowed. Mansour said she is seeing improvement with each match. The Pride is now 12–8, 5–3 in Colonial Athletic Association conference play.

“Right now, it’s very exciting to see,” said Mansur. “They are finally getting as one. We see the chemistry rising and we see them really getting to enjoy playing with each other, supporting each other. We see that in our gym every day right now. We are finally getting to the point of becoming one unit.”

The upperclasswomen are making significant contributions. Outside hitter Laura Masciullo, team co-captain, is not only a great player, but also a strong leader. Setter Luisa Sydlik, co-captain, takes charge to make the Pride a better group. “It’s their senior year and they do everything they can to make Hofstra volleyball a better team,” said Mansur.

There are still several more weeks of conference play, then the weekend before Thanksgiving the CAA conference tournament will be held at Hofstra. Mansur said every match leading up to that will be very good competition.

“Every match we play in the CAA this year can be the match that’s going to make the difference between the number one seed or the number six seed in the tournament,” said Mansur. “We host the tournament, so there is a lot of responsibility for us to make sure we really take care of business in each match coming up.”