DURHAM, N.H. – Jackie Ahlers recorded six kills and a block in the decisive fifth game to lift the Stony Brook University volleyball team to Friday night’s 3-2 America East conference victory against University of New Hampshire at Lundholm Gym. The game scores were 30-32, 30-24, 27-30, 30-23 and 15-13.
UNH suffered its first home loss of the season (in six matches) and is now 13-7 overall, 2-3 in America East. Stony Brook is now 15-7, 3-1. Overall, all five games were close throughout as there were a total of 53 ties and 20 lead changes in the match.
The Seawolves won the initial two points of Game 5 on a block combination by Ahlers and Ashley Headen and a Morgan Sweany service ace. The Wildcats won three of the next four points – the last on a block by the combination of Kate Uitti (Pinckney, Mich.) and Jessica Compton (Woodridge, Ill.) – to pull even at 3. Following a UNH hitting error, Ahlers, recorded consecutive kills to give SBU a 6-3 lead.
UNH called time out at that point and a pair of Emmy Blouin (St. Albert, Alberta) kills sparked a 5-3 spurt to pull the ‘Cats within 9-8 and prompt the visitors to call a timeout.
Sweany’s 19th kill of the night pushed the advantage to 10-8 but consecutive kills by Blouin and Kirsten Bates (Calgary, Alberta), who matched Ahlers’ match-high kill total of 23, leveled the score at 10. Ahlers put an end to that momentum swing with another kill, but then her hitting error tied the game yet again.
Amy Oleksiej put SBU back in front, 12-11, with one of her 14 kills and UNH called its second timeout of Game 5. Another Ahlers kill gave the Seawolves a 13-11 lead but the ‘Cats inched closer on Bates’ third kill of the game.
A UNH hitting error moved SBU to match point at 14-12 but the Wildcats fended off that match point with a Toni Barnas (Cary, Ill.) kill. The visitors then claimed victory, however, when Oleksiej spiked the set from Kaitlyn Deutsch down the middle of the court.
Uitti finished with 65 assists to ascend to No. 3 on UNH’s career assist list with 1,717; she surpassed Katie Weidner (1,712). In addition to Bates, four Wildcats finished in double digits in kills. Blouin (16 kills) was followed by Compton and Barnas with 12 each, and Lindsay Fogarty (Pleasanton, Calif.; 10). Alyse Lahti (Pepper Pike, Ohio) and Sara Heldman (Greenwood, Ind.) led the defensive effort with 22 and 17 digs, respectively, and Compton tallied five blocks.
SBU’s attack was directed by Deutsch, who recorded 61 assists. Noelle Bay was credited with 26 digs and Sweany complemented her 19 kills with 24 digs. Oleksiej contributed defensively with eight blocks and Ahlers added seven.
Game 1 featured 17 tie scores and five lead changes. UNH held the largest lead by either team in the game at 24-20, but a 4-1 Seawolves’ run tied the score at 25. UNH earned game point, 29-27, on a kill by Blouin but SBU rallied to tie the score 29-29 and had game point at 30-29 before the ‘Cats closed the game with a three-point spurt.
In Game 2, Stony Brook led 16-13 when it reeled off five consecutive points to build a commanding 21-13 advantage. UNH won four of the next five points to close within 22-17, but a four-point spurt by the visitors put the game out of reach.
Game 3 saw 18 ties and 10 lead changes. With the score tied at 20, New Hampshire took three straight points to build the largest lead held by either team in the game. SBU did respond to tie the game at 23-23 and went on to take a 26-25 lead. UNH kill by Bates, Uitti and Compton pushed UNH to a 28-26 advantage, then kills from Barnas and Blouin ended the game.
In Game 4, the score was once again tied at 20 when SBU utilized a 5-0 run to take control of the game and force the decisive fifth game.
UNH recorded a .194 hitting percentage for the game while the Seawolves hit .251 as a team.
New Hampshire returns to action Oct. 14 (1 p.m.) at home against the University of Hartford. Tickets are available online or by calling 866-WILDCAT. Live video of the match will be available online at UNHwildcats.tv.