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DURHAM, N.H. -- The second-seeded UNH volleyball team opens play at the America East Championship on Saturday, Nov. 17 against No. 3 Albany. The Wildcats, who own a 2-0 advantage in the season series, will square off against the Great Danes at 3:30 p.m. at top-seede Stony Brook. The winner of that match will play the winner of the No. 1 Stony Brook, No. 4 Binghamton match for the title. Somethings got to give on Saturday as the Wildcats own an active four-game winning streak in the America East Championship, while the Great Danes have won two of the last three titles. UNH captured back-to-back titles in 2002 and 2003.

New Hampshire (19-8, 8-4) closed out the regular season with a convincing 3-1 win over Albany on Sunday... With the win the Wildcats finished in a second-place tie with Albany and earned the second seed by virtue of a pair of head-to-head wins over the Great Danes... These two teams will meet against next weekend in the semifinals of the America East Championship... Match time is 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17 at top-seeded Stony Brook... In Sunday’s 3-1 win over Albany, America East Player of the Week Kirsten Bates (Calgary, Alberta/Bishop Carroll) posted a double-double with 20 kills and 17 digs... The game scores for the regular-season finale were 30-26, 30-25, 17-30 and 30-24... In addition to Bates, seniors Emmy Blouin (St. Albert, Alberta/Paul Kane) and Jessica Compton (Woodridge, Ill./Downers Grove South) recorded double-figure kills with 15 and 11, respectively. Freshman setter Sara Heldman (Greenwood, Indiana/Center Grove) recorded a career-high 46 assists. Defensively, Alyse Lahti (Pepper Pike, Ohio/Orange) had a team-high 23 digs... With her 15 kills Blouin moved into third place on the all-time kills list with 1,281... Her 385 kills this season is the 10th-best single season mark in program history.

Albany (19-9 overall record, 8-4 America East record) split two conference matches on the road over the weekend... The Great Danes defeated Maine, 3-0, before falling, 3-1, to New Hampshire... Sophomore outside hitter Kate Eckhardt (Ottawa, Ontario/Glebe Collegiate) averaged 3.29 kills, 2.14 digs and 0.86 blocks in a 1-1 week for the Great Danes. Eckhardt also recorded four service aces and seven assists in the two matches... Against Maine on Friday, Eckhardt finished with a match-high 17 kills, hitting .593, to go along with eight digs, three total blocks and one service ace... Versus New Hampshire on Sunday, Eckhardt recorded nine kills, seven digs, three total blocks and three service aces... She is averaging 1.56 kills and 2.77 digs per game on the season... Freshman outside hitter Amanda Cowdrey (Brampton, Ontario/Cardinal Leger) averaged 3.33 kills and 2.83 digs in two matches over the weekend... She recorded a double-double with 16 kills and 14 digs against New Hampshire, along with four block assists... She added four kills and four digs in a 3-0 sweep of Maine... Cowdrey leads the team on the season, averaging 3.47 kills and 3.43 digs per game... Senior middle blocker Ashley Crenshaw (Birmingham, Ala./Hoover) recorded the 1,000th kill of her career versus New Hampshire... She is ninth on UAlbany’s all-time kills chart... The Great Danes are seeded third in the America East Tournament, and will face off against second-seeded New Hampshire on Saturday at 1 p.m.... The Wildcats swept the regular-season series with their win on Sunday.

Binghamton (16-17, 7-5 America East) concluded its regular season schedule with a 3-0 victory over visiting Hartford on Sunday. The Bearcats will carry the No. 4 seed and play Stony Brook in the semifinals of the America East Championship on Saturday, November 17 at 3:30 p.m. Earlier in the week, the Bearcats dropped a 3-1 decision to the top-seeded Seawolves at the West Gym Court...The Bearcats have now qualified for the America East Championship in four consecutive seasons...Binghamton finished the 2007 season with a 6-3 mark on its home floor...Senior Jacki Kane (Centennial, Colo.) moved into the Bearcat record books for her performance at the net. Kane established a new single-season school record for blocks with 182, surpassing the previous mark of 174 set by former Bearcat Anne Crocus in 2002. Also, the 6-2 middle hitter moved into second on the school’s all-time total block list. She now has 607 for her career and is just six blocks behind Susan Rinde ’84 for the program’s all-time lead headed into Saturday’s match...Freshman setter Lindsey Mueller (West Bend, Wis./West Bend West) recorded a pair of double-doubles on the week. Mueller now has 24 on the season.

UMBC (20-12, 5-7 America East) finished their winningest season in nine years last week as they recorded a victory against Hartford and fell to Navy and Stony Brook... The last time the Retrievers tallied 20 or more victories in a season was in 1998, when they finished with a 22-7 record... America East Rookie of the Week Bridget Scheetz (St. Louis, Mo./Ursuline Academy) averaged 1.56 blocks per game, 3.22 kills per game, 4.06 points per game, and maintained a .316 hitting percentage over the Retrievers’ three matches last week... The rookie added eight assisted blocks and hit .500 from the floor in the loss to Navy, bringing her season assisted blocks total up to 112, which is a new UMBC single-season record... Sophomore Tiffany Johnson (Abingdon, Md./Arundel/Kansas State) also made her mark on the Retriever record books, as she totaled 93 assisted and 98 total blocks for the season, which puts her into ties for second and sixth, respectively, on the single-season charts, while senior Katrina Carrick (San Diego, Calif./Morse) added her name to the all-time top ten for assisted blocks as she brought her career total up 117, good for tenth on the list.

WILDCAT HOPE TO CONTINUE AE STREAK: The Wildcats own the league’s best active winning streak in the tournament... Despite a three-year absence, UNH has won four-straight games in conference tournament that helped guide the way to back-to-back titles in 2002 and 2003.

AGAINST TOURNAMENT FOES IN AE TOURNAMENT:  UNH is a combined 3-0 lifetime against the current tournament field at the America East Championship. They defeated Albany twice in the semifinals and Stony Brook in the finals in 2002.
November 23
No. 1 New Hampshire def. No. 4 Albany (3-2)
(30-18, 24-30, 30-24, 25-30, 15-7) Semifinals
November 21
No. 1 New Hampshire def. No. 4 Albany (3-1)
(30-22, 29-31, 30-12, 30-26) Semifinals
No meetings
Stony Brook:
No. 1 New Hampshire def. No. 3 Stony Brook (3-1)
(30-20, 28-30, 30-16, 30-22) Finals

Pre-Season Coaches Poll    Final Standings                                      
1. UMBC (4)    Stony Brook
2. Albany (3)    New Hampshire
3. New Hampshire    Albany
4. Binghamton    Binghamton
5. Stony Brook    UMBC
6. Maine    Maine
7. Hartford    Hartford

HOME SWEET HOME: UNH owns a 9-1 record at home this season with its lone loss coming in a dramatic 3-2 loss to top-seeded Stony Brook

‘CATS ENJOYING RECENT TOURNAMENT SUCCESS: The Wildcats are 9-4 in tournament play this year including a perfect 6-0 combined in tournament wins at Colgate and UNH.

KEEP IT IN NEUTRAL: UNH is 5-1 this season in neutral-site games with its only loss coming at James Madison at the Maryland Tournament.

WILDCATS RAISE $5,000 IN DIG FOR THE CURE EVENT: In an Oct. 28 match with Binghamton, the volleyball team helped raise over $5,000 for breast cancer during the “Dig for the Cure” event. The match was one of over 60 matches in the nation that was part of the “Dig for the Cure.”  

HIRSCHINGER CAPTURES 200th win as coach at UNH: Head Coach Jill Hirshinger captured her 200th win as coach at UNH when the Wildcats defeated Southern Methodist to earn the crown at the UNH Tournament

UNH TRIES FOR NINTH 20-WIN SEASON: The volleyball team is just one win away from its ninth 20-win season in UNH history. It would be the seventh under Hirschinger’s reign.

BLOUIN JOINS 1,000 KILL CLUB, 2ND ON ALL-TIME LIST AT UNH: In a win over Holy Cross on Sept. 1, senior outside hitter Emmy Blouin became the fifth player in program history to join the 1,000-kill club. In addition, she currently sits third on the all-time list with1,281 kills.

2007 Weekly America East Accolades
Sept. 4    Setter of the Week    Kate Uitti
Sept. 17    Setter of the Week    Kate Uitti
Oct. 22    Setter of the Week    Kate Uitti
Nov. 12    Player of the Week    Kirsten Bates

UITTI MOVES INTO SECOND ON ALL-TIME ASSISTS LIST: With over 1,100 assists this season, sophomore setter Kate Uitti has moved into second on the all-time assists list at UNH. Uitti, who has 1,991 helpers, is second to current UNH assistant coach Stacy Barnett (3,977).

BARNAS JOINS 30-KILL CLUB: With her 36 kills in a five-game win over Syracuse, Toni Barnas became just the fourth player in program history to have 30 kills in a game. Barnas’ 36 kills was second to Alyson Coler, who has 38 kills on 10/8/02 against Northeastern.

LAHTI DIGS HER WAY INTO THE RECORD BOOKS: Alyse Lahti set the single-season record for digs with 512 through 100 games this season. Overall, Lahti sits seventh on the all-time digs list at 916.

Lahti headlines league-best five AE honorees
~Sophomore Libero named Defensive Specialist of the Year~: Alyse Lahti, a sophomore libero on the University of New Hampshire women’s volleyball team, has been named America East Defensive Specialist of the Year. Lahti headlines a group of a league-best five Wildcat all-conference honorees. The annual awards were announced on Friday night at the America East banquet on the campus of Stony Brook University.
Lahti is joined by First Team All-Conference honorees sophomore right-side hitter Kirsten Bates (Calgary, Alberta) and senior outside-hitter Emmy Blouin (St. Albertm Alberta). Joining Lahti on the Second Team are sophomore setter Kate Uitti (Pinckney, Mich.) and senior outside hitter Jessica Compton (Woodridge, Ill.). In addition to their on the court performances, Bates, Uitti and Compton were named to the America East All-Academic team for their accomplishments in the class room.

Lahti, who was a second-team all-conference selection, played in all 100 games this season. An all-rookie selection last year, she led the conference with 5.12 digs per game, totaling 512 on the season. She also recently set the single-season digs record at UNH with 512 defensive digs so far this season. Overall, the sophomore ranks seventh on the school’s all-time list in that category.

Bates, a true triple threat for the Wildcats, ranks in the top 10 in the conference in kills (6th – 3.54 kpg) and aces (10th – 0.37 apg) and is also among the team leaders in hitting percentage and blocks.

Blouin moved into third place on the Wildcats’ all-time career kills list and joined the 1,000-kill club this season with 1,281 kills in her storied career. She is averaging 3.79 kills per game and 4.28 points per game third and fourth in the conference, respectively. Blouin has led the team in kills each of the past two seasons and amassed a total of 747 kills in that span.

Uitti improved on last year’s standout freshman season with an impressive sophomore season. She registered a career-high 1,139 assists this year, a total that ranks fifth best all-time in single season campaigns. Uitti currently ranks second in the conference in assists at 11.99 apg. Her impressive season adds to her career as she now ranks second all-time in career assists with a total of 1,991.

Compton had a break out season this year for the Wildcats as she recorded a career-high 208 kills., which ranks sixth in America East. She was also a standout leading the team with 77 blocks, a total that gives her 197 in her career and ranks eighth on UNH’s all-time career blocks list.

The All-Academic squads are a product of the June 2005 Athletics Director meetings. Faculty representatives and athletics directors from each of the conference’s nine member institutions decided to honor some of the league’s top athletes that are also quality students.

The All-Academic Team has been selected based on the student-athlete’s academic and athletic accomplishments. Academic achievement for consideration requires student-athletes to have a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.00 entering the season. Athletically, student-athletes are required to be a nomination on the post-season awards ballot, which is determined by the league’s head coaches.
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