WEST HARTFORD, Conn. -- Junior setter Taylor Dunklau (Mukwonago, Wis.) recorded 40 assists to lead the University of New Hampshire volleyball team to a .324 hitting percentage and 3-0 victory against the University of Hartford at Sports Center on Friday night. The set scores were 28-26, 25-15, 25-21.
UNH, which has won two straight matches and six of its last seven, improves to 13-12 overall and remains atop the America East standings by improving to 7-2 in the conference. The Wildcats' .324 hitting percentage, which included a mark of .500 in Set 2, is the second best of the season.
Hartford is now 9-16, 3-6.
Dunklau also tallied seven digs and two blocks. Tori Forrest (Powder Springs, Ga.) recorded a match-high 16 kills on the strength of a .367 hitting percentage. Destiny Tolliver (Rochester, Mich.) followed with 11 kills and a .500 hitting percentage as well as match-high four blocks. Morgan Thatcher (Brockton, Mass.) finished with nine kills, .333 hitting percentage and three blocks.
Madison Lightfoot (Clarkston, Mich.) and Sam Henke (Millersville, Md.) led the defensive effort on the backline with 13 and 12 digs, respectively. Henke also contributed offensively with three service aces.
In Set 1, UNH quickly built a 4-1 lead but that proved to be the Wildcats' largest lead in the set. Hartford rallied to take a 12-11 lead and extended the advantage to 15-12, which prompted the visiting 'Cats to call a timeout.
The Hawks won four of the next six points, however, to build their largest lead of the set at 19-14. UNH inched within 20-18, then Hartford moved one point closer to claiming the set at 21-18. A pair of kills by Forrest sandwiched around a UH attack error leveled the score and that forced the home team to call time out.
New Hampshire won the point out of the break, but Hartford responded with back-to-back points to regain the lead, 23-22. Following a UNH timeout, the Wildcats pulled even but then faced set point. Thatcher's kill kept the 'Cats alive and then a Hawks' attack error erased another set point. UNH was also denied on its initial attempt to close out the set at 26-25, but they converted on the next chance on Henke's service ace to win Set 1, 28-26.
Hartford won the first point of Set 2, but then committed five attack errors as part of six consecutive UNH points. The Hawks called time out and won the ensuing point to trim the deficit to 6-2, but consecutive kills by Thatcher established an 8-2 advantage and the home team got no closer the rest of the set as the 'Cats took a 2-0 lead with the 25-15 triumph in the set.
Hartford held an 8-6 lead in Set 3 before New Hampshire, behind the strength of Henke's serve and three Forrest kills, surged ahead 11-8. UNH called a timeout with a 20-19 lead and extended the advantage on a kill by Tolliver. The Hawks crept back within one point, but Forrest responded with another kill to reestablish a two-point cushion, 22-20. Hartford again pulled within one point, but the 'Cats closed out the match on back-to-back kills by Tolliver and Abby Brinkman (Brecksville, Ohio) followed by a Hawks' hitting error.
New Hampshire returns to action Nov. 2 (2 p.m.) at Providence College. The Wildcats then close the regular season with a four-match homestand beginning Nov. 8 (7 p.m.) against UMBC.