WASHINGTON, D.C. – The University of New Hampshire volleyball team split a pair of matches, downing Princeton, 3-2, after falling to George Washington, 3-1, on Saturday to close out play at the George Washington Invitational at the Smith Center.
UNH now moves to 6-8 on the season. The set scores against Princeton were 24-26, 19-25, 25-18, 25-18 and 15-12, while the set scores against George Washington were 25-23, 17-25, 22-25 and 20-25.
Following the final match, freshman Tori Forrest (Powder Springs, Ga.) was named to the all-tournament team for her efforts throughout the three-match event.
In the match against Princeton, junior Morgan Thatcher (Brockton, Mass.) was one of five Wildcats to notch double-digit kills as she posted a match-high 20 kills and hit at a .239 clip. Freshman Abby Brinkman (Brecksville, Ohio) recorded 15 kills with a .419 hitting percentage, while Forrest and Brenna Buckwalter (Evergreen, Colo.) added 14 and 11, respectively. Buckwalter also hit at a team-high .444 clip, while junior Destiny Tolliver (Rochester, Mich.) posted a double-double with 10 kills and 15 digs to pair with five blocks. Senior Jansan Falcusan (Plymouth, Mich.) also recorded a double-double with 44 assists and 12 digs, while sophomore Taylor Dunklau (Mukwonago, Wis.) added 19 assists. Senior Jessie Schnepp (East Longmeadow, Mass.) and sophomore Sam Henke (Millersville, Md.) registered 23 and 16 digs, respectively.
The two teams were neck-and-neck in the opening set, fighting through 15 even scores before settling at 24-24, but the Tigers ended with consecutive points for the 26-24 victory. Princeton maintained its momentum in the second set as the Tigers jumped out to an 18-8 lead and cruised to the 25-19 victory and 2-0 match advantage.
New Hampshire started its comeback in the third set as the Wildcats broke away from an 11-11 even score with three straight for the 14-11 lead. After trading points, UNH ended with a 10-4 stretch to claim the stanza, 25-18.
In the fourth set, the teams were even at 9-9 before the Wildcats reeled off four straight to take the 13-9 lead. Princeton showed signs off evening the score, trimming to deficit to one on three occasions, but the Wildcats ended with a 5-2 run to take the set, 25-18, and force a fifth and final set.
In that set, the teams remained tightly contested and stood even at 11-11 until a pair of kills by Brinkman headlined a 4-1 stretch for the Wildcats to secure the set, 15-12, and seal the comeback victory.
In the match against George Washington, Forrest led the way with 13 kills for a .379 hitting percentage, while Tolliver also reached double-figures with 11 kills. Dunklau registered 39 assists and Schnepp added 11 digs to go along with three service aces.
The opening set featured ten even scores before UNH broke an 18-18 tie with consecutive kills by Forrest and Dunklau for the 20-18 advantage. George Washington pulled within one on a pair of occasions but the Wildcats held on for the 25-23 victory.
The second set was close in the beginning as George Washington held a slim 15-14 lead, but then the home side netted six straight for the 21-14 advantage to pave the way for the eventual 25-17 victory and even the score at 1-1.
New Hampshire was in a four-point hole midway through the third set but the Wildcats battled back to even the score at 20-20. The teams traded points before the Colonials ended the stanza with a 4-1 stretch to claim the set, 25-22.
In the fourth set, George Washington jumped out to an 18-10 lead, capped off by a four-point stretch. UNH trimmed the deficit to three but could not get closer as the home team went on to capture the set, 25-20, to seal the win.
The Wildcats return to action on Tuesday, Sept. 18 when they play host to Harvard at 7 p.m.