PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Amy Keding (Northbrook, Ill.) registered a match-high 12 kills, Sara Heldman (Greenwood, Ind.) dished out 27 assists and Jayde Huxtable (St. Charles, Ill.) notched 17 digs, but the University of New Hampshire volleyball team lost an America East match to Providence College, 3-0, on Friday night at Mullaney Gymnasium. The set scores were 26-24, 25-21 and 25-23.
Providence (10-17, 2-4 America East) snapped a five-match losing streak by handing UNH (7-14, 2-4) its fourth straight setback.
The Wildcats fell behind by as many as seven points (20-13) in the opening set before going on an 11-4 run to take their only lead, 24-23, on a kill by Lauren Laquerre (Concord, N.H.; four kills, four digs). Heldman (five kills, 15 digs) and Keding recorded two kills apiece during the rally, Destiny Tolliver (seven kills, five digs) added a pair of blocks and Jesssie Schnepp (East Longmeadow, Mass.; two service aces, dig) delivered a service ace. But the Friars closed the opening stanza by scoring the final three points to eke out a 26-24 win.
UNH came out strong in the second set, capturing an early 8-3 lead. Morgan Thatcher (Brockton, Mass.; nine kills, three service aces, four digs) powered the Wildcats with two kills, both assisted by Heldman, and two service aces, while Laquerre chipped in with two kills. Keding sparked a 5-0 run midway through the set by assisting on a block with Justine Elliott (Mitchelville, Md.; three blocks, two kills, two assists) and then parlaying back-to-back assists from Huxtable into consecutive kills for a 14-8 lead. The Friars responded, however, with six straight points to tie the match at 14. The teams would be tied at 15, 16, 18 and 19 before Providence pulled away by scoring six of the final eight points for a 25-21 set victory.
The highly competitive third set saw the two teams battle to 14 ties, with the final deadlock occurring at 23-23. The Friars, who trailed 21-16 at one point, closed out the sweep by outscoring the 'Cats 9-2 down the stretch for a 25-23 triumph.
UNH and Providence conclude their home-and-home weekend series with a 1 p.m. match Sunday afternoon at Lundholm Gym. It will be Kids Day, featuring a postgame Wildcat Kids' Club Clinic. For ticket information call 1-800-745-3000 or visit UNHWildcats.com.