NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – The University of New Hampshire volleyball dropped a pair of matches to Rhode Island and Rutgers in the opening day of competition at the Rutgers Invitational Friday at College Avenue Gymnasium.
UNH now stands at 1-5 on the season. The set scores against Rhode Island were 20-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-27 and 9-15, while the set scores against Rutgers were18-25, 21-25 and 17-25.
In the opening match against Rhode Island, junior Morgan Thatcher (Brockton, Mass.) racked up a team-high 18 kills and added 13 digs for the double-double, while sophomore Delaney Dameron (Alpharetta, Ga.) and freshman Tori Forrest (Powder Springs, Ga.) added 12 and 11 kills, respectively. Sophomore Taylor Dunklau (Mukwonago, Wis.) led all players with 47 assists. Senior Jessie Schnepp (East Longmeadow, Mass.) posted a match-high 22 digs, while sophomore Sam Henke (Millersville, Md.) and junior Destiny Tolliver (Rochester, Mich.) also reach double-digits with 12 and 10 digs, respectively.
In the first set, Rhode Island held a slim 10-9 lead but broke away with six straight to move out in front at 16-9. UNH trimmed the deficit to four, but the Rams netted four straight and went on to claim the set at 25-20 for the 1-0 match lead.
URI maintained the momentum in the second set by jumping out to a 17-11 advantage. Down by four at 20-16, UNH netted eight consecutive points for the commanding 24-20 lead and held on for the 25-23 victory to even the match at 1-1.
In the third set, the teams were tied up at 11-11 before UNH used a 4-0 run to take a 15-11 advantage. The Rams continued to battle and evened the score at 23-23 but the Wildcats used back-to-back kills by Thatcher and Dameron to take the set, 25-23.
URI bounced back in the fourth set as the Rams broke away from a 15-15 tie for the slim 20-17 lead. UNH came back to even the score at 24-24, but after the teams traded points, the Rams netted the final two points for the 27-25 victory and force a deciding fifth set.
In that set, the two teams were all knotted up at 9 points apiece, but Rhode Island ended the stanza with six straight for the 15-9 win.
In the match against Rutgers, Thatcher led the way with 10 kills, while Dunklau posted 30 assists. Schnepp added a team-high 18 digs and Henke chipped in with 11 digs.
In the opening set, the Scarlet Knights jumped out to a 15-9 lead before the Wildcats reached double-digits on a kill by Thatcher to trim the deficit to 15-10. From there, the home side reeled off a 5-1 run for the 20-12 advantage and went on to claim the set, 25-18.
In the second set, Rutgers held a 14-10 lead before UNH crawled back to pull within one at 16-15. Nevertheless, the Knights answered back with a 6-1 run to pave the way for the 25-21 victory and 2-0 match lead.
The teams were all tied up at 6-6 to kick off the third set, but Rutgers used an 8-1 run to move out in front, 14-7. UNH trimmed the deficit to four on multiple occasions, but could not get closer as the Knights held on for the 25-17 victory to seal the win.
The Wildcats wrap up play at the Rutgers Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 1 when they take on Iona at noon.