The University of New Hampshire volleyball team returns to action this weekend in the America East Championship held at top-seeded University at Albany's University Gym. The second-seeded Wildcats will play No. 3 Binghamton University on Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. If the Wildcats win, they would play for the America East Championship on Saturday at 1 p.m. UNH is in search of its fourth America East Championship. The 'Cats took home the title in 1998, 2002 and 2003.

UNH rattled off four-straight wins and five of its last six to finish tied for second place in the America East standings. The Wildcats finished as the second seed by virtue of a four-way tiebreaker.

UNH IN THE AE TOURNAMENT:  UNH is 9-5 all time in the America East tournament with wins three America East Championships in 1998, 2002 and 2003. In addition, the Wildcats have gone to the America East title match six times all during Head Coach Jill Hirschinger’s tenure.

AGAINST TOURNAMENT FOES IN AE TOURNAMENT:  UNH is a combined 2-1 lifetime against the current tournament field at the America East Championship. They defeated Albany twice in the semifinals before a semifinal loss to the Great Danes in 2007. The Wildcats have never played Binghamton or UMBC in the America East tournament.
November 23
No. 1 New Hampshire def. No. 4 Albany (3-2)
(30-18, 24-30, 30-24, 25-30, 15-7) Semifinals
November 21
No. 1 New Hampshire def. No. 4 Albany (3-1)
(30-22, 29-31, 30-12, 30-26) Semifinals
November 17
No. 3 Albany def. No. 2 New Hampshire (3-1)
(20-30, 30-32, 30-22, 17-30)
No meetings
No meetings

Pre-Season Coaches Poll    Final Standings  
1. Binghamton (4)    Albany
2. Albany (2)    New Hampshire
3. New Hampshire    Binghamton
5. Stony Brook    Stony Brook
6. Hartford    Hartford

2009 America East Accolades
Sept. 28    Setter of the Week    Kate Uitti
Sept. 28    Player of the Week    Lindsay Fogarty
Nov. 16    Player of the Week    Lindsay Fogarty
Nov. 19    Def. Spec. of the Year    Sara Heldman
Nov. 19    AE All Conf. 1st Team    Lindsay Fogarty
Nov. 19    AE All Conf. 2nd Team    Kirsten Bates
Nov. 19    AE All Conf. 2nd Team    Sara Heldman

Sara Heldman has been named America East Co-Defensive Specialist of the Year. Heldman, who shares the league’s top defensive honor with Albany’s Laurie Gonzalez, has a league-best 446 digs and finished with a league-best 5.30 digs per set in America East play. Heldman’s 4.80 dps overall is second to only Gonzalez. In the final weekend of the regular season, Heldman recorded a program-record 38 digs in a win over Stony Brook. Heldman becomes the fourth Wildcat to earn the league’s top defensive honor and the first since Alyse Lahti did so in 2007.

Sara Heldman, Lindsay Fogarty and Kirsten Bates were all selected as America East All-Conference honorees. Fogarty was a first team selection, while Bates and Heldman were on the second team. Fogarty, who was a 2008 America East All-Conference Second Team member, paced a well-balanced offensive attack for the Wildcats and was among the league leaders in several categories. Overall, she ranked 10th in hitting percentage, fifth in points and fourth in kills. However, in America East play Fogarty finished second in kills (3.95 kps), eighth in aces (0.27 aps)  and second in points (4.42 pps). Fogarty was a two-time America East Player of the Week (Sept. 28, Nov. 16). Bates, a three-time America East All-Conference selection, ranks eighth in the America East in kills (3.08 kps), eighth in digs (3.00 dps) and seventh in points (3.49 pps).  Bates returned this season just months after knee surgery and was a key part to UNH’s second-half run to the postseason.

Sara Heldman had a program record 38 digs in a dramatic come-from-behind win over Stony Brook on Nov. 14. Heldman’s 38 digs was also the most by any player in America East this season.

On Nov. 14, Kirsten Bates became just the sixth player in program history to register 1,000 kills. Bates now has 1,022 kills in her four-year career.

Senior Kate Uitti became just the second player in program history to register 3,000 career assists. Uitti has 3,477 assists all time behind only current Wildcat associate head coach Stacy Barnett (3,977).

UNH (13-14, 5-5 AE)
completed an improbable run into the America East Championship by winning its final four matches and five of the last six, including a pair of a wins in the final weekend of the regular season... The Wildcats, who entered the weekend fifth in the conference standings, finished in a four-way tie for second in the league and earned the second seed in the conference championship by virtue of a tie-breaker scenario...  Overall, New Hampshire has won 12 of the last 14 sets and qualifies for the AE Championship after a one-year hiatus... New Hampshire even had its back to the wall dropping the first two sets to Stony Brook on Saturday before rallying for a 3-2 win... In the win over SBU, Sara Heldman (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove) recorded a program-record 38 digs, while Kirsten Bates (Calgary, Alberta/Bishop Carroll) recorded a season-high 19 kills, including the 1,000th of her career... Not to be outdone, Lindsay Fogarty (Pleasonton, Calif./Amador Valley) tallied a career-high 26 kills in the winning effort, while Kate Uitti (Pinckney, Mich./Pinckney) finished with a season-high 50 assists to quarterback the attack.... Bates became the sixth UNH player to attain the 1,000-kill milestone and the first since Emmy Blouin (2007)... On Sunday, the Wildcats once again needed to win or be left out of the playoffs and delivered with a straight-set win over UMBC... Fogarty registered a team-best 10 kills and hit at a .391 clip... In addition to Fogarty, Bates tallied nine kills, six digs and hit at a .368 clip... Uitti dished out a match-high 31 assists, while Heldman added 11 defensive digs... Sunday’s match was also “Senior Day” at UNH where the program honored the accomplishments of its four-player senior class... UNH will play third-seeded Binghamton on Friday at 3 p.m. at University Gym on the campus of the University at Albany.

Albany (20-8 overall record, 10-0 America East record)
completed its second straight undefeated conference season with a 3-0 sweep of Hartford on Saturday evening... The Great Danes were led by junior outside hitter Teresa Coppiellie (Canton, Mich./Salem), who recorded 12 kills, seven digs and a .611 hitting percentage... Junior setter Brooke Stanley (Hendersonville, N.C./West Henderson) recorded 34 assists and was just short of a double-double with nine digs... She added two kills and one service ace in the match... Stanley quarterbacked the Great Danes to a .353 hitting percentage as a team, while UAlbany held Hartford to a .047 team hitting percentage... The Great Danes outblocked the Hawks, 7-1... Kalyn Mostert (Nepean, Ontario/Marivale) led the team at the net with five total blocks, while Casey Wright (Ballston Spa, N.Y./Ballston Spa) recorded four block assists... UAlbany honored seniors Valerie Sourbeer (Valley Center, Calif./Valley Center), Hillary White (Aberdeen, S.D./Aberdeen) and Laura Livergood (Lantana, Fla./Lakewood Christian) prior to the match... UAlbany earned hosting rights for the America East Conference Tournament for the second straight season and third time in the past four years.

Binghamton (13-15, 5-5 AE)
split a pair of home matches this past week, losing to Syracuse before sweeping Hartford ... Binghamton finished in a four-way tie for second place in the America East and will be seeded third due to tiebreakers for the upcoming America East Conference tournament ... Binghamton has made the postseason tournament in six-straight seasons ... The Bearcats will take on second-seeded New Hampshire in a semifinal match on Friday afternoon in Albany ... Junior hitter Michelle McDonough (Orland Hills, Ill./Andrew) led Binghamton with a 4.17 kills per set average in two matches this past weekend ... During last week, McDonough moved past recent grad Jacki Kane into fourth place on the all-time kills list at Binghamton ... McDonough now was 1,040 kills in only three seasons ... Junior setter Lindsey Mueller (West Bend, Wisc./West Bend West) led Binghamton in assists (11.33 per set) and also tallied 2.17 digs per set in two matches this past weekend ... Senior libero Brianna Strong (Elkhart, Ind./Concord) led the team with 4.83 digs per set and in the process moved into second place for the single season digs record at Binghamton ... Junior hitter Anna Lejina (Riga, Latvia/Riga Secondary/Univ. of Latvia) aided the Binghamton offense with 3.83 kills per set on the weekend ... Senior middle Dawn Lammert (Sussex, Wisc./Arrowhead) led the Bearcats in blocking, posting a 1.33 blocks per set clip to go along with 1.33 kills per set ... Lammert, Strong and fellow senior Julia Vint (Endicott, N.Y./Union-Endicott) were honored in a senior night ceremony prior to the Hartford match ... The Bearcats made the conference tournament during every year of their careers, and Strong was a member of the 2005 America East Championship team.

UMBC (20-12, 5-7 America East)
finished their winningest season in n(13-9, 5-2 AE) played just one match this past week, falling at New Hampshire, 3-0, on Sunday... Sophomore Alyssa Lang (Richmond, Va./Deep Run) led the Retrievers, hitting .375 with 14 kills while adding 11 digs for her eighth double-double of the season... Freshman Ali Loynachan (Whitby, Ontario, Canada/Sinclair) was second on the team, hitting .333 with six kills on 12 swings... Lang continues to lead the Retrievers with 3.14 kills per set (232) and is second on the team in digs, averaging 2.51 per set (186)... Freshman Naomi Bush (Fruitport, Mich./Fruitport) is second on the team in kills with 2.48 per set, while hitting .233, which is third on the team. The Retrievers return to action Friday when they face No. 1 seed Albany in the America East semifinals.

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