Volleyball Drops a Pair at Villanova Classic

VILLANOVA, Pa. – The University of New Hampshire volleyball team dropped a pair of five-set matches to Maryland and Villanova to close out play at the Villanova Classic Saturday at the Nevin Field House.

UNH now stands at 1-2 on the season. The set scores against Maryland were 23-25, 25-21, 25-21, 22-25 and 7-15, while the set scores against Villanova were 25-20, 26-24, 26-28, 14-25 and 13-15. Following the final match of the Villanova Classic, junior Destiny Tolliver (Rochester, Mich.) was named to the All-Tournament Team for her efforts throughout the three-match event.  

In the opening match against Maryland, freshman Victoria Forrest (Powder Springs, Ga.) led the way with 13 kills, while junior Morgan Thatcher (Brockton, Mass.) posted 12 kills and 13 digs for her first double-double of the season. Tolliver and freshman Abigail Brinkman (Brecksville, Ohio) also reached double-digit kills with 11 and 10, respectively. Sophomore Taylor Dunklau (Mukowonago, Wis.) led all players with 43 assists, while senior Jessie Schnepp (East Longmeadow, Mass.) recorded a match-high 27 digs and four service aces.

In the opening set, the two teams battled to a 6-6 start before the Wildcats used a 7-3 run for the eventual 13-9 advantage. The Terrapins fought back to even it all up at 14-14 but the Wildcats took advantage of several attack errors and moved out in front, 19-14. From there, Maryland reeled off six straight for the 20-19 lead. The teams swapped points over the next few possessions before Maryland broke a 23-23 tie with back-to-back points for the 25-23 victory and 1-0 match lead.

The teams were tightly contested in the second set until UNH broke the 8-8 tie with four straight for the 12-8 lead. Maryland battled back to even the score at 13-13 and eventually led by two on a pair of occasions but the Wildcats came back to even the score at 18 apiece. With the score tied at 19-19, Forrest and sophomore Delaney Dameron (Alpharetta, Ga.) netted back-to-back kills, paving the way for the 25-21 UNH victory to even the match at 1-1.

New Hampshire jumped out to a quick 7-2 advantage in the third set but the Terps fought back to even the score at 12 points apiece. Nevertheless, the 'Cats would never relinquish their lead as five different players picked up timely kills down the stretch to give UNH the 25-21 victory and 2-1 match lead.

In the fourth set, the teams continued to be evenly matched with tie scores at 15-15 and 20-20, but the Terps closed it out with a 5-2 run for the 25-22 win to force a deciding fifth set.

In that set, Maryland raced out to a 9-3 lead and held on for the 15-7 win to secure the match victory.

In the match against Villanova, Tolliver registered a match-high 21 kills and hit at a .405 clip, while Thatcher posted her second double-double of the day with 13 kills and 10 digs to go along with five blocks. Dameron also added 11 kills and five blocks, while Schnepp tied a school record with 38 digs in a single match. Dunklau recorded a career-high 52 assists and added 11 digs for the double-double. Sophomore Sam Henke (Millersville, Md.) chipped in with 15 digs.  

In the first set against host Villanova, the teams were tied up at 4-4 until a kill by Thatcher sparked a 5-1 stretch to push the visitors out in front at 9-5. However, the home side climbed out of a five-point hole at 14-9 with six unanswered for the 15-14 advantage. After swapping points, UNH answered right back with three straight for the 18-16 lead and held on to claim the set at 25-20.

UNH netted the first four points to open the second set, but the home side crawled back to tie the score at 13-13. From there, the teams were closely contested the rest of the way as the stanza featured eight more even scores until Villanova held a 24-22 lead for match point. Nevertheless, New Hampshire refused to let down and rattled off four straight clutch points for the 26-24 victory and 2-0 match lead. 

The teams were close again in the third set with a 12-12 tie, but Villanova moved out in front for the 21-16 lead. UNH would not go quietly and came back to even the score at 23 points apiece. The squads traded points but Villanova broke a 26-26 tie with consecutive tallies for the 28-26 win.

In the fourth set, Villanova broke an early 4-4 tie with a 10-3 run for the 14-7 advantage. New Hampshire pulled within four on two occasions but the home side ended the stanza with six straight to take the set at 25-14 and force a fifth set.

In the deciding fifth set, the teams were all knotted up at 7-7 before Villanova netted three straight for the 10-7 lead. UNH evened the score at 12-12 but the home side closed out the stanza for the 15-13 victory to claim the match.

New Hampshire returns to action on Tuesday, August 28 when they take on Northeastern in the home opener at 7 p.m.

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