No. 2 Volleyball Heads to AE Championship; Draws No. 3 Stony Brook in Semis (Nov.18)

AE Championship Central | Game Notes

DURHAM, N.H. – The second-seeded University of New Hampshire volleyball team will return to the America East Championship Tournament for the second time in the last three years, taking on third-seeded Stony Brook University on Friday, Nov. 18 in Albany, N.Y. Match time is set for 4 p.m. at Albany's University Gymnasium. Links to live stats and live video are available at www.unhwildcats.com.   

The top-seeded University at Albany will host the conference tournament for the fourth straight year and will take on fourth-seeded UMBC in Friday's other semifinal matchup at 7 p.m.

The winners of the two semifinals will meet in the title game on Saturday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. with the winner earning an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. UNH is in search of its fourth America East Championship. The 'Cats took home the title in 1998, 2002 and 2003.

UNH AGAINST STONY BROOK: The Wildcats own a 12-11 all-time record against Stony Brook, including a pair of five-set victories this season. In the first meeting of the season on Oct. 7, the Wildcats pulled out a 3-2 victory on the road to remain unbeaten in conference play. Senior Lauren Laquerre (Concord, N.H.) and junior Jansan Falcusan (Plymouth, Mich.) posted double-double performances, while senior Amy Keding (Northbrook, Ill.) paced the team with 21 kills in the winning effort. In the most recent matchup on Nov. 6, the Wildcats rallied for a comeback victory behind a .338 team hitting percentage as well as a trio of double-digit kill efforts by Keding, Laquerre and sophomore Morgan Thatcher (Brockton, Mass.).

UNH IN THE AE TOURNAMENT: UNH is 9-6 all time in the America East tournament with three America East Championships in 1998, 2002 and 2003. In addition, the Wildcats have gone to the America East title match seven times, all during Head Coach Jill Hirschinger's tenure.

AGAINST TOURNAMENT FOES IN AE TOURNAMENT: UNH is a combined 3-1 all-time against the current tournament field at the America East Championship. As the top seed, New Hampshire downed Stony Brook, 3-1, in the 2002 title match to capture the AE Championship. They defeated Albany twice in the semifinals before a semifinal loss to the Great Danes in 2007. The Wildcats have never played UMBC in the America East tournament.

CONFERENCE 'CATS: UNH has put up some impressive numbers in conference play this season, ranking near the top of the league in several statistical categories. As a team, the Wildcats rank second in both blocks (2.08 b/s) and digs (15.78 d/s), while Jansan Falcusan ranks second with 10.46 assists per set and senior Amy Keding ranks second with 4.35 points per set.

NOT A LAQUERRE IN THE WORLD: On Oct 21, senior Lauren Laquerre recorded 17 kills against Hartford to move into ninth on the program's all-time kills list. With 954 career kills, Laquerre needs four more to pass Kim Mirts-Poen for eighth place and 46 to become just the seventh Wildcat with 1,000 career kills. 

FOUR WILDCATS EARN ALL-CONFERENCE HONORS: On the eve of the AE tournament, four members of the University of New Hampshire volleyball team earned all-conference accolades. Senior outside hitter Amy Keding was selected to the America East All-Conference first team, while senior outside hitter Lauren Laquerre, junior setter Jansan Falcusan and sophomore right side hitter Morgan Thatcher earned second team honors. 

Keding, who was named to the all-conference second team last year, proved to be a consistent offensive force for the Wildcats throughout the season. The senior paced the lineup with 368 kills and ranked fifth in the conference with 3.32 kills per set. Keding, who earned America East Player of the Week honors twice during the season, registered 11 double-doubles on the year.

Laquerre picked up postseason honors for the first time since she was selected to the all-rookie team during her freshman campaign. The co-captain continued her run as one of the top offensive threats in the league as she racked up 319 kills for 2.85 kills per set, good enough for eighth in the conference. Additionally, she ranked second on the team with 2.45 digs per set and paced the lineup with 13 double-doubles.

After two years of waiting in the wings, Falcusan stepped up as the starting setter this season and made the most of the opportunity. The co-captain ranked fifth in the America East with 8.68 assists per set, and ranked second in conference matches with 10.46 assists per set. Falcusan, who was named the America East Setter of the Week on Oct. 31, also ranked fourth on the team with 2.25 digs per set and totaled nine double-doubles. 

Thatcher emerged as one of the rising offensive powers in the America East landscape as she totaled 279 kills for 2.56 kills per set in 109 sets played. She finished her second season in a Wildcat uniform with 60 digs and 58 blocks, and recorded double-digit kills 16 times throughout the season.

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