DURHAM, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire volleyball team split a pair of five-set matches, defeating Central Connecticut State, 3-2, before falling to William & Mary, 3-2, on Saturday to close out play at the Holly Young Invite at Lundholm Gymnasium.
UNH now stands at 4-6 on the season. The set scores against CCSU were 22-25, 23-25, 25-19, 25-22 and 21-19, while the set scores against William & Mary were 25-22, 19-25, 23-25, 26-24 and 9-15.
In other tournament action, William & Mary downed Holy Cross, 3-0, while Central Connecticut defeated Holy Cross in five sets, 3-2. UNH, CCSU and William & Mary each finished with 2-1 records, while Holy Cross wrapped up at 0-3.
Following the final match, senior Jessie Schnepp (East Longmeadow, Mass.) and junior Morgan Thatcher (Brockton, Mass.) were both named to the all-tournament team for their efforts throughout the three-match contest.
In the match against Central Connecticut, Thatcher recorded a match-high 23 kills for a .273 hitting percentage and also added five blocks. Freshmen Tori Forrest (Powder Springs, Ga.) and Elizabeth Kennerly (West Lake, Calif.) posted 14 kills apiece, while junior Destiny Tolliver (Rochester, Mich.) also reached double-digits with 12 kills. Sophomore Taylor Dunklau (Mukwonago, Wis.) racked up a career-high 61 assists, while Schnepp added 28 digs. Sophomore Sam Henke (Millersville, Md.) and freshman Madison Lightfoot (Clarkston, Mich.) chipped in with 12 digs apiece.
In the opening set, the Blue Devils jumped out to a 10-3 lead. New Hampshire chipped away at the lead and pulled within two at 24-22, but the visitors held on for the 25-22 victory.
The Blue Devils held a steady lead to open the second set before the Wildcats pulled within two at 20-18. UNH eventually evened up the score at 23-23 with a 4-0 stretch but the Blue Devils secured the final two points for the 25-23 victory and 2-0 match lead.
The teams were even to start the third set before the Wildcats broke a 13-13 tie with a 7-1 run for the 20-14 advantage. CCSU responded with back-to-back points but the home side went on to capture the stanza, 25-19.
In the fourth set, CCSU opened with a quick 4-0 start but the Wildcats continued to fight and eventually tied up the score at 17 apiece. After the teams traded a pair of points, UNH reeled off four straight to pave the way to a 25-22 win, forcing a deciding fifth set.
In that set, CCSU broke away from a 5-5 score with sixth consecutive points for the 11-5 advantage, but the Wildcats roared back and tied it up at 13-13. After three lead changes and six even scores, the teams were tied at 19-19, setting the stage for Morgan Thatcher's back-to-back kills to win the stanza, 21-19, and capture the thrilling victory.
In the late match against William & Mary, Thatcher led the way with 17 kills, while Forrest and Tolliver added 14 and 11, respectively. Schnepp added 26 digs, while Dunklau posted a double-double with 46 assists and 12 digs.
In the opening set, William & Mary held a slim one-point lead at 13-12 but then reeled off three straight for the 16-13 advantage. UNH battled back, however, and came right back to even the score at 20-20. After swapping points, the Wildcats ended the stanza with a 4-1 run to cap off the comeback and claim the set, 25-22.
In the second set, the Tribe opened with a 6-1 run to pave the way for the early 12-6 advantage. The Wildcats fought back and closed the gap to one point as a Dunklau kill trimmed the deficit to 17-16. From there, William & Mary held on to a slim lead before ending the set with four straight for the 25-19 advantage.
The teams were evenly matched to open the third set before the Tribe used an 8-2 run to move out in front at 18-11. The Wildcats answered with back-to-back points but the Tribe stretched their lead to 22-16. Down by six, the Wildcats used a 6-1 stretch to pull within one at 23-23, but the Tribe closed it out for the 25-23 victory.
New Hampshire jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the fourth set and maintained its advantage at 9-5, but the Tribe climbed back to pull within one at 9-8. From there, the Wildcats netted five straight to move out in front, 14-8. After William & Mary came back to even the score at 19-19, the teams traded a series of points until the Wildcats ended with two straight to claim the set, 26-24, and force a fifth set.
In the deciding set, the Tribe opened with a 9-4 advantage but the Wildcats stormed back to cut the lead to one at 9-8. Nevertheless, William & Mary ended the stanza with a 6-1 run to claim the set, 15-9, and seal the win.
The Wildcats return to action on Tuesday, Sept. 11 when they visit Bryant at 7 p.m.
UNH – Jessie Schnepp
UNH – Morgan Thatcher
William & Mary – Paulette Grand Pre
William & Mary – Manon Murray
CCSU – Emily Cochran
CCSU – Jamie Rademacher
HC – Elizabeth Watters