DURHAM, N.H. - The University of New Hampshire volleyball team begins its quest for the America East Championship when it takes on Northeastern at Hofstra University on Saturday.
The 2000 tournament marks the fourth consecutive season in which the Wildcats have taking part in the four-team conference tournament. UNH has made it to three straight championship games, taking the conference title in '98 over Hofstra and advancing to the NCAA tournament.
UNH is led by seniors Jillian Ross (Naperville, Ill.), Jennifer Walker (Fulton, N.Y.), Kim Mirts-Poen (Essex, Iowa), Stacy Barnett (Crystal Lake, Ill.), Katie Jentes (Madbury, N.H.) and freshman Alyson Coler (Monte Sereno, Calif).
Ross, an America East Player of the Year candidate, leads the team in kills with 384. Ross is third in America East with 3.96 per game. Walker, also up for player of the year honors, leads the team in blocks with 127. Walker is first in the conference in blocks per game with 1.29. Barnett, America East Setter of the Week (Nov. 6), leads the team in assists with 1, 238. Barnett is second in assists in the conference with 11.74 per game. Jentes, with 32 service aces, leads the team with .342 aces per a match. Coler, a strong America East Rookie of the Year candidate, leads the team with 33 service aces. Coler is second in hitting-percentage in the America East at .280 and leads all rookies with 265.
The Wildcats (22-10 overall, 13-3 America East) are seeded second behind Hofstra (21-10, 16-0), the defending America East champion who defeated UNH, 3-1, in the final last season. Two of UNH's three conference losses this season came at the hands of the Pride, the third coming against Saturday's semifinal oppenent, the Huskies (19-15, 12-4) who lost to UNH in last season's semifinal, 3-1.
UNH plays the first semifinal versus the Huskies at Hofstra's Physical Fitness Center at 2 p.m. Hofstra opposes fourth-seeded Towson (15-17, 11-5) at 4:30 p.m. The final will be held on Sunday at 1 p.m.
The Wildcats will depart for Hofstra Thursday afternoon at 5 p.m. The America East Conference Awards Banquet will held at Hofstra on Friday night.