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Stony Brook women’s volleyball looks to start off CAA play on right foot

Outside hitter Kali Moore attempts to make a kill against Columbia on Wednesday. Moore leads the Stony Brook women’s volleyball team in points and kills this year. TIM GIORLANDO/THE STATESMAN

After wrapping up nonconference play last weekend, the Stony Brook women’s volleyball team is officially competing for playoff position.

The Seawolves (4-6) are returning to Pritchard Gymnasium this weekend to host the Northeastern Huskies (4-4) to open up the conference season. The first match is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday, and the weekend will wrap up with another match at the same time on Sunday.

Stony Brook comes into this series with the superior offense. The team ranks fourth in the Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) in total points and assists, second in service aces and sixth in hitting percentage and kills. The squad is led by outside hitter Kali Moore, who has avoided the dreaded sophomore slump after winning 2022 CAA Rookie of the Year. She is currently fourth in the conference in kills (3.42) and points (4.14) per set, while also being fifth in aces (17).

Opposite Moore is outside hitter Leoni Kunz, who is having a solid senior year. She is the team’s second-leading scorer with 2.93 kills per set, and her .301 hitting percentage is the third-best mark on the team. Outside hitter Abby Stanwood has taken a big step in her sophomore year, as she currently ranks fourth on the team in points (74) and third in kills (72).

Right between Kunz and Stanwood on the scorer’s list is middle blocker Abby Campbell, who has scored 74 points on a team-leading .314 hitting percentage.

The Seawolves’ offense is facilitated by setter Torri Henry, who leads the CAA with 10.29 assists per set. She has been a big part of their dominance on serves, as she has racked up 13 aces thus far.

Stony Brook’s offense has a good matchup against Northeastern’s defense. The Huskies are allowing the second-worst opponents’ hit percentage (.240), the fourth-most kills (12.59) and the second-most aces per set (1.84) in the conference. However, they are sixth in the CAA in digs per set (13.5). It has been a group effort for the team in that regard, as six of its players are averaging at least two digs per set, but none of them rank in the CAA’s top 10.

Perhaps Northeastern’s best defensive player is middle blocker Anabel Zier, who leads the team with 27 total blocks. Zier has also made an impact on offense, as she is currently fourth in the CAA in hit percentage at .383 and second on the team with 75 kills.

The Huskies will need some more consistent offensive contributions from Zier to help them against the Seawolves. Leading the charge on offense for Northeastern is outside hitter Abby Reck, who has been a standout as a freshman. She is the conference’s 10th-leading scorer at 3.38 points per set. Her three kills per set have her ranked eighth in the CAA.

A lot of Reck’s kills come off assists from Northeastern setter Jessica Frannea, whose 7.46 assists per set rank sixth in the CAA.

Stony Brook’s defense is equipped to handle the Huskies’ offense. The Seawolves have been middle of the pack in most defensive statistics, which stacks up well against Northeastern. They are seventh in the CAA in blocks per set (1.84) and opponents kills per set (12.15). Opponents have posted a .229 hitting percentage against Stony Brook — the fourth-worst rate in the conference.

In other areas, the Seawolves have been elite. They are surrendering the second-fewest aces per set (1.21) and have posted the fourth-most digs per set (14) in the CAA. The majority of their success has stemmed from libero Julia Patsos, who is third in the conference in digs per set with 3.94. Her 134 digs rank second in the conference. Henry is second on the team with 83 digs. Patsos has also contributed on offense with 14 aces.

Kunz leads the team with 25 blocks, and Campbell is right behind her with 23. Freshman middle blocker Ayanna Pierre Louis has been getting more playing time recently and has contributed 12 blocks in 16 sets, giving her the second-best blocks per set rate (0.75) on the team.

With a favorable matchup to begin the conference season, Stony Brook will be hoping to grab itself a pair of wins.

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About the Contributor
Mike Anderson, Sports Editor
Mike Anderson is the Sports Editor at The Statesman. He is a senior majoring in journalism with aspirations of becoming a sports journalist. His love of sports comes from his time spent as a baseball player. As a reporter for The Statesman, he has covered baseball, softball, football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, men's and women's lacrosse, women's volleyball and hockey. He has also interned at Axcess Sports as a high school and college baseball and softball reporter. He is a local product from Port Jefferson, N.Y. and is a diehard Mets, Jets, Nets and Islanders fan.
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