Wildcat volleyball announces 2006 schedule

DURHAM, N.H. - Head coach Jill Hirschinger of the University of New Hampshire women's volleyball team announced the Wildcats 2006 season schedule Thursday afternoon.

The UNH volleyball team will officially kick off the 2006 campaign Friday, August 25 vs. St. John's of the Big East conference at the Fairfield Tournament. The Wildcats will also play in the Syracuse Tournament and will face the San Diego State Aztecs on Friday, Sept. 1 and NCAA tournament qualifier Siena on Saturday, Sept. 2.

UNH will host its annual tournament at Lundholm Gymnasium on Friday, Sept. 8 against Brown and Saturday, Sept. 9 vs. San Jose State of the Western Athletic Conference. The Wildcats will host Texas-San Antonio of the Southland Conference in the team's seventh annual "Pack the Arena Day" at 7 p.m on Sept. 9.

The Wildcats will then face a tough test at the Michigan Tournament on Friday, Sept. 15 against Conference USA opponent Rice University and then the 'Cats face the Wolverines of the Big Ten on Sat., Sept. 16.

UNH faces Harvard on Tuesday, Sept. 19 and will square off against intrastate rival Dartmouth College on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at Hanover. The team opens America East play Friday, Sept. 29 against conference rival University of Maine in Orono.

The 'Cats face the 2005 America East champions of Binghamton University on Sunday, Oct. 8 at Vestal, N.Y.

"We look forward to the 2006 season with a solid core of returning student-athletes and an outstanding recruiting class. Our non-conference schedule is filled with tough opponents that will help ready the team for a quest at another America East championship," said Hirschinger.

Hirschinger will enter her 28th season coaching collegiate volleyball and it's her 11th season at the helm of the Wildcat volleyball program. She has posted 589 career coaching victories and needs only 11 wins to become the 14th active coach to accomplish the 600-win plateau.

The Wildcats will be captained by senior outside hitter Sarah Rehn (Oceanside, Calif.) and sophomore outside hitter Toni Barnas (Cary, Ill.). Rehn set and played defense in 2005 registering 185 digs and 322 assists, while Barnas redshirted the season due to shoulder surgery. Sophomore outside hitter Emmy Blouin (St. Albert, Alberta) returns as UNH's top kill producer with 274 kills and 132 digs.

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