VESTAL, N.Y. – Sara Heldman (Greenwood, Ind.) quarterbacked the University of New Hampshire offense with six kills, a .500 hitting percentage and 27 assists while also contributing a team-high 12 digs defensively, but the Binghamton University volleyball team defeated the Wildcats, 3-1, at West Gym on Friday night. The set scores were 25-15, 23-25, 25-18, 26-24.
UNH lost for the first time in conference play this season to fall to 7-11 overall and 2-1 in America East. Binghamton, which was playing its home opener, is now 6-11, 1-1 after recording a .248 hitting percentage and 11 service aces vs. New Hampshire.
Lauren Laquerre (Concord, N.H.) recorded a team-high 10 kills for the Wildcats. Amy Keding (Northbrook, Ill.) was next with nine kills. Destiny Tolliver (Rochester, Mich.), the two-time America East Rookie of the Week, contributed six kills and three blocks. Justine Elliott (Mitchellville, Md.) tallied a team-high four blocks.
Anna Lejina and Michelle McDonough recorded 14 kills apiece for the Bearcats. Julie Chambers was credited with 32 assists and Xiomara Ortiz had a match-high 14 digs.
In the opening set, a kill by Tolliver gave UNH the first point but the Bearcats responded to take a 3-1 lead en route to building an 8-2 advantage that forced the Wildcats to call time out. UNH inched closer, 10-5, behind a pair of Keding kills. Binghamton extended the advantage to double digits, 16-6, and the visiting 'Cats were unable to trim the deficit below nine points the rest of the set. BU recorded a .667 hitting percentage with 11 kills and just one error in 15 attack attempts.
In Set 2, Binghamton edged in front 4-1 before the Wildcats leveled the score at 6-6. UNH trailed 9-8 but won consecutive points, the second on a kill by Heldman, to take its first lead of the set. The lead was short-lived, however, as the Bearcats went on a 5-1 run to build a 14-11 advantage.
New Hampshire trailed 17-13, called time out and responded with a three-point spurt that ended with a Tolliver kill that lifted the visiting 'Cats within 17-16. The home team edged in front by three points, 19-16, before a kill by Morgan Thatcher (Brockton, Mass.) and combined block by Thatcher and Tolliver were part of a 4-0 run that put UNH back in front, 20-19.
BU led 22-21 when a Laquerre kill, Elliott block and Tolliver ace gave UNH set point. One point later, another kill by Laquerre leveled the match, 1-1. The Wildcats tallied a .200 hitting percentage and defensively limited the Bearcats to a .154 clip.
In the third set, BU recorded an early 9-0 run that included four service aces by Lejina to build a 10-2 advantage. New Hampshire gradually pulled within 21-17, but the early eight-point deficit proved too much to overcome.
The Bearcats opened up a 5-1 lead in Set 4, but New Hampshire responded with its own 5-1 spurt to level the score at 6. Elliott led the comeback effort with one solo block and two assisted blocks. Binghamton won the ensuing point, then UNH reeled off three consecutive points to go ahead 9-7. The home team captured six of the next seven points to take a 13-10 and force the visiting 'Cats to call a timeout.
Following a BU service error, the Bearcats went on a 5-1 spurt to advance the score to 18-12. Kills by Dressing and Laquerre lifted UNH within four points, but Binghamton went on a 3-1 run for a 21-15 advantage. The Wildcats responded with three consecutive points to close within 22-20. With the Bearcats ahead 24-21, New Hampshire staved off three match points to tie the score at 24, but back-to-back Lejina kills gave Binghamton the set and match.
New Hampshire returns to action Oct. 10 (1 p.m.) at the University at Albany. The Wildcats' next home match is Oct. 16 (2 p.m.) vs. UMBC. It is the Dig Pink: Breast Cancer Awareness fundraiser in which fans are encouraged to wear pink. Tickets are available online at www.unhwildcats.com