Kirsten Bates

– Senior outside hitter Jeanne Czipri (Aurora, Ill.) recorded a career-high 18 kills as well as four blocks to spark the University of New Hampshire volleyball team to Friday night’s 3-2 America East victory against the University of Maryland-Baltimore County at Lundholm Gymnasium. The game scores were 24-30, 32-30, 28-30, 30-23, 15-6.

UNH won its third consecutive match to improve to 16-7 overall, 5-3 in America East. UMBC is now 19-8, 4-4.

Including Czipri, who tallied a .390 hitting percentage, five Wildcats finished with double digits in kills. Kirsten Bates (Calgary, Alberta) recorded a match-high 19 kills and the trio of Toni Barnas (Cary, Ill.), Emmy Blouin (St. Albert, Alberta) and Lindsay Fogarty (Pleasanton, Calif.) finished with 11 kills apiece. Kate Uitti (Pinckney, Mich.) directed the Wildcat attack with 65 assists.

Defensively, Alyse Lahti (Pepper Pike, Ohio) led five ‘Cats in double digits in digs with a match-high 27. She was followed by Sara Heldman (Greenwood, Ind.; 17), Uitti (16), Jayde Huxtable (St. Charles, Ill.; 13) and Bates (10). Also of note defensively, Fogarty finished with four blocks and Jessica Compton (Woodridge, Ill.) was credited with three.

UMBC’s attack was led by Ashley Oscars (19 kills) and Sabrina Hoeks (12). Stacey Carroll tallied 48 assists and 17 digs. Pam Jarrett had a team-high 23 digs. Bridget Scheetz compiled nine kills and a match-high seven blocks that was equaled by teammate Tiffany Johnson.

In the decisive fifth game, UNH raced out to a 7-0 lead before the Retrievers called time out. The Wildcats won the initial two points on UMBC errors, then a Fogarty kill and two consecutive kills by Bates extended the Wildcats’ advantage to 5-0. That duo combined for a block, then another Bates’ kill gave the home team a seven-point lead.

Following the timeout, Fogarty’s solo block put New Hampshire ahead 8-0. UMBC ended the run with two consecutive points but never got closer than six points the rest of the way and finally the combination of Uitti and Compton blocked a UMBC attack to end the match.

Game 1 featured eight ties and four lead changes before UMBC utilized a 9-1 spurt to take a commanding 25-18 lead. Trailing 28-19, UNH won five consecutive points before a Wildcat error and an assisted block by Johnson and Hoeks ended the game in favor of the visitors.

In Game 2, there were seven ties and three lead changes. With the score tied, 7-7, UNH went on an 11-5 spurt to take an 18-12 lead. The ‘Cats led 20-14 before the Retrievers rallied to tie the game at 21. New Hampshire spurted ahead 24-21, but UMBC won eight of the next 10 points to earn game point at 29-26. A Blouin kill followed by two UMBC errors leveled the score and UNH, which had just been on the brink of falling behind 2-0 in games, earned game point on an ace by Lahti. The Retrievers fended off that game point, but then a Uitti kill and a UMBC error gave the ‘Cats Game 2.

Game 3 saw a total of 15 ties and six lead changes. UMBC led by as many as four points – at 12-8 – before UNH eventually rallied to tie the score at 15. Neither team won more than two consecutive points the remainder of the game, but Oscars’ kill broke a 28-28 tie and then a Wildcats’ error ended the game.

UNH then began its charge in Game 4. The ‘Cats built an early 5-1 advantage and extended that cushion to 15-6. The Retrievers then won six consecutive points to close within 15-12, but they would get no closer the rest of the way. Leading 18-15, the Wildcats won three consecutive points to spark a 5-1 run that quelled the visitor’s rally and force a decisive fifth game.

UNH had a distinct advantage in hitting percentage in the last two games. The ‘Cats hit at .298 and .286 in Game 4 and Game 5, respectively, while UMBC went .114 and -.190.

New Hampshire returns to action at home Oct. 28 (1 p.m.) against Binghamton University. The match is one of over 60 in the nation that is part of the “Dig for the Cure” event in which donations will be accepted towards the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Fans wishing to donate may leave cash or checks (made out to “Susan G. Komen Foundation) in the donation boxes.
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