DURHAM, N.H. – Sophomore outside hitter Tori Forrest (Powder Springs, Ga.) and sophomore defensive specialist Madison Lightfoot (Clarkston, Mich.) recorded career-best efforts, topping Binghamton University 3-2 at Lundholm Gymnasium Sunday afternoon on Senior Day.
The set scores were 25-20, 25-20, 21-25, 23-25, 15-7.
Before the start of the game, two seniors were honored on the court in a pregame ceremony. Right side hitters and captains Morgan Thatcher (Brockton, Mass.) and Destiny Tolliver (Rochester, Mich.) were recognized for their dedication and performance to the UNH volleyball program.
Lightfoot snapped a program best 39 digs in the match. The record was previously set by Jessie Schnepp who set the mark on Aug. 25, 2012 at Villanova. Additionally, Sara Heldman recorded 38 digs against Stony Brook at home on Nov. 14, 2009.
New Hampshire extends its season-long winning streak to seven games to cap off the regular season. Furthermore, New Hampshire remains undefeated at home against America East opponents for the first time since 2003 to register its seventh consecutive victory.
Forrest led the Wildcat offense to a career-high 19 kills accompanied by 11 digs to followed by Thatcher with 15 kills on the strength of a .294 hitting percentage.
Orchestrating the attack to a .206 hitting percentage, junior setter Taylor Dunklau (Mukwonago, Wis.) distributed 49 assists. Three players tallied double figure digs to hinder the Bearcats to a .174 hitting percentage. Pacing the defensive effort, Lightfoot logged a program-best 39 digs in a match. Sam Henke (Millersville, Md.) registered 12 digs followed by Forrest with 11.
The Wildcats were able to capture the first set 25-20 powered by 17 kills and a .438 hitting percentage. Forrest paced all hitters in the frame with six of her 19 kills.
The first stanza was closely contested at first as each side earned eight points apiece. New Hampshire produced a 7-1 run, raising the score to 15-9. The Bearcats countered with a 9-2 run, forcing a timeout as the 'Cats trailed 18-17. After the stoppage, the Bearcats tacked on two more points to lead 20-17. However, Forrest was able to produce five of the ensuing six kills for UNH, capturing the opening set.
New Hampshire seized set two 25-20 as UNH compiled a .273 clip in the stanza. Forrest produced another stellar set offensively, posting seven kills and a .545 hitting percentage.
As the score was deadlocked at 10, the Bearcats were able to pull ahead on a 6-2 run to lead 16-12. New Hampshire wrestled the lead away from the Bearcats on a pair of kills from Delaney Dameron (Alpharetta, Ga.) and Forrest, forcing a Binghamton timeout at 17-16. As the score was raised to 20-19 in favor of the Wildcats, UNH closed out the set by taking five of the next six points.
Binghamton was able to capture set three 25-21 powered by an eight-kill effort from Grace Vickers.
UNH opened the set with a four-point advantage set lead at 13-9. The Bearcats retaliated with six straight points to take a 15-13 advantage. New Hampshire chipped away at the lead and eventually evened the score at 20 all. However, Binghamton regained the momentum and ended the third frame on a 5-1 run.
The Bearcats rallied back to even the match at two, taking the fourth set 25-23. Vickers again powered the Binghamton with four kills, including three aces.
As each side had seven points apiece, Vickers served up a trio of aces followed by a UNH attack error to give Binghamton an 11-7 advantage. New Hampshire quickly rallied as the 'Cats produced a 7-2 run to regain the lead 14-13. Binghamton again recaptured the lead at 19-16, as UNH exerted a timeout. The Wildcats battled back to level the score at 23. Despite the late set rally from UNH, Binghamton forced a fifth frame.
In the deciding set, each side exchanged points as the stood at six all. New Hampshire was advantageous of offensive miscues from the Bearcats, building an 11-6 edge. New Hampshire capped off the set with four straight kills to capture match point.
New Hampshire will remain at Lundholm Gymnasium for the duration of the America East Championships. The top-seed Wildcats are slated to host the fourth-seeded Stony Brook University Seawolves on Friday, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. The second-seed University of Maryland, Baltimore County Retrievers will be paired against the University at Albany Great Danes for 4 p.m. on Friday as well. The championship game will be held Saturday, Nov. 23 at 4 p.m. For more information about the UNH volleyball and the upcoming America East Championships, be sure to visit UNHWildcats.com.