DURHAM, N.H. – Lauren Laquerre (Concord, N.H.) and Pauline Acres (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) both recorded career highs in kills with 20 and 18, respectively, to lead the University of New Hampshire women’s volleyball team to Sunday afternoon’s 3-2 victory against the University of Maine in America East action at Lundholm Gymnasium. The set scores were 25-21, 19-25, 19-25, 25-22 and 15-12.
UNH, which fell 3-1 at Maine on Friday, improved to 6-17 overall, 5-5 at home and 3-4 in America East. Maine is 10-11, 3-4.
Acres, who hadn’t posted double digits in kills since Sept. 13 vs. Evansville, also tallied a personal-best 11 digs and three blocks to complement her .341 hitting percentage. Laquerre, whose previous career high in kills was 15, finished with a personal high of 53 attack attempts as well as an impressive .302 hitting percentage.
Kate Uitti (Pinckney, Mich.) effectively orchestrated the ‘Cat attack with a season-high 52 assists, and she also recorded a season-high 14 digs. Kirsten Bates (Calgary, Alberta) had a solid all-around match with 12 kills, a .219 hitting percentage, 11 digs and two blocks; she had four kills and four digs in the decisive fifth set. Both Lindsay Fogarty (Pleasanton, Calif.) and Justine Elliott (Mitchellville, Md.) tallied six kills and five blocks.
Maine’s attack was led by Lindsay Allman (20 kills) and Amy Lawson (12), who finished with hitting percentages of .298 and .333, respectively. Jessica Wolfenden tallied 42 assists and four of the team’s 14 service aces. Allman also contributed a match-high 23 digs.
In Set 5, UNH jumped out to a 3-0 lead on the strength of two Laquerre kills. A Lucia Bridova (Bratislava, Slovakia) service ace pushed the advantage to 5-2 and prompted a Maine timeout. The Black Bears responded with a Lawson kill and service ace to pull within 5-4, which then forced the Wildcats to call time out.
Following a Bates kill, a pair of Brittany Kiehl kills sandwiched a UNH hitting error to give Maine its first lead of the set at 7-6. With the score tied 8-8, Maine won three consecutive points but two more Laquerre kills surrounded one by Elliott to lift the ‘Cats into an 11-11 tie.
Both teams won a point to push the score to 12-12, then Laquerre put UNH ahead with her fifth kill of the set and Bates finished off the comeback victory with consecutive kills.
The duo of Laquerre and Acres sparked New Hampshire to a 25-21 win in Set 1. With UNH trailing 19-17, two Laquerre kills ignited a 6-1 run that gave the ‘Cats a 23-20 lead. Acres’ sixth kill of the match gave UNH set point, and then Fogarty’s third block ended the set.
In Set 2, Maine trailed 5-4, but then a UNH service error leveled the score and Megan Smith recorded four straight aces to lift the Black Bears to a 9-5 lead. Consecutive Allman kills – she had seven in Set 2 – later extended their advantage to 14-7. The ‘Cats won three consecutive points to pull within four points, but they would get no closer the rest of the set.
New Hampshire won the initial two points of Set 3, but Maine reeled off 10 consecutive points to take a commanding 10-2 lead. The Wildcats rallied within 14-11, but the visitors went on a 4-0 spurt on the strength of Wolfenden’s serve to regain control and an 18-11 cushion.
UNH won five of the next six points, however, to close the gap to 19-16. A Lawson block and Laura Goettsch kill put momentum back in Maine’s favor en route to a 23-17 lead. Back-to-back kills by Fogarty prompted a Black Bears’ timeout, and they responded by winning the next two points to take a match lead of 2-1.
In Set 4, it was tight early as UNH took a 9-6 lead on a Maine hitting error. UM called time out and won three of the next four points to trim the deficit to 10-9. The visitors eventually pulled even at 13 and, after falling behind 14-13, won three straight points to take a 16-14 lead.
Trailing 18-16, UNH leveled the score on kills by Laquerre and Bates and regained the lead on a Maine hitting error. The Black Bears responded with kills by Lawson and Allman to go in front, 20-19, and force a UNH timeout.
Wolfenden’s fourth ace of the match pushed Maine closer to match point at 21-19, and then the teams exchanged points to make it 22-20. Two Black Bear errors evened the score, and then a block by the combination of Acres and Fogarty put UNH in front, 23-22. Following Maine’s timeout, Bates gave the ‘Cats set point with a kill and then a UM blocking error ended the set in favor of the home team.
New Hampshire returns to action next weekend for two home matches. The Wildcats play host to Albany on Oct. 31 (7 p.m.) and UMBC on Nov. 2 (1 p.m.).