DURHAM, N.H. - The University of New Hampshire volleyball team swept through the University at Albany 3-0 in its America East regular season finale at Lundholm Gymnasium on Sunday.
The 'Cats struggled at times but avoided what might have been a huge letdown after just a day earlier knocking off the top team in the conference in front of 1,152 fans at Lundholm. The final match scores were 30-24, 30-26 and 30-23.
Freshman Bonnie Wilson (Moraga, Calif.) led the way for UNH, which finished the regular season at 18-8 overall and 11-3 in America East, good for third. Wilson nailed down 14 kills and picked up 11 digs, both team highs.
The Wildcats will likely face a rematch with Northeastern University, who they beat 3-2 on Saturday, in the America East Volleyball Championship semifinals. By virtue of the Huskies' loss to the Wildcats on Saturday, first-place Towson University will be host the tournament beginning Nov. 17 at Towson, Maryland. The finals will be Nov. 18.
Sophomore Chelsea Hammer (Eden Prairie, Minn.) had her best match as a Wildcat with 10 kills on 15 attack attempts with no errors and a .667 hitting percentage. Freshman Kerin Mackanin (Bartlett, Ill.) had 44 assists and nine digs. Sophomore Alyson Coler (Monte Sereno, Calif.) finished with a team-high four service aces, while junior Lauren Knight (Centerville, Mass.) had nine kills and 10 digs.
Albany's Alissa Gibbs led all players with 23 kills, while Fallon Hearst had 16 for the Great Danes.
The 'Cats trailed the Great Danes (4-20, 1-13 America East) early in each of the first two games. In the first game, ALbany jetted out to a 16-6 lead but couldn't sustain the momentum as UNH took the lead for good at 17-16.
Late in the second game, Albany was looking to steal a game with a 25-21 lead. But an ace and a kill by Wilson brought the 'Cats to within 25-23 and a Coler kill knotted things up at 26-all. Knight had a service ace to make it 29-26 and Wilson finished the game with a kill.
Despite a 7-0 lead early in the third game, the Wildcats had some difficulty in putting away the game Great Danes. Albany battled its way back to tie the match at 13-all only to see the 'Cats wake up and push their lead back to four, 18-14.
UNH continued to hold off the Great Danes and finished the match with ease, 30-23.