DURHAM, N.H. – Junior Morgan Thatcher (Brockton, Mass.) registered a match-high 16 kills to lead the University of New Hampshire volleyball team past Holy Cross, 3-0, Friday night in the first day of competition at the Holly Young Invitational at Lundholm Gymnasium.
UNH improves to 3-5 on the season, while Holy Cross drops to 0-7 overall. Set scores in the match were 25-18, 25-19 and 25-11.
Thatcher hit at a .577 clip and also added three blocks, while sophomore Taylor Dunklau (Mukwonago, Wis.) led all players with 34 assists. Senior libero Jessie Schnepp (East Longmeadow, Mass.) recorded a match-high 16 digs and added three aces, while sophomore Sam Henke (Millersville, Md.) also reached double-digits with 10 digs.
The two teams were even at 10-10 to open play in the first set, but the Wildcats reeled off four straight as a kill by freshman Brenna Buckwalter (Evergreen, Colo.) pushed the home side on top, 14-10. The Crusaders pulled within three at 16-13, but UNH used a 7-3 run for the 23-16 advantage. Holy Cross answered with back-to-back points, but the Wildcats ended with two straight for the 25-18 victory and 1-0 match lead.
In the second set, New Hampshire jumped out to an 11-6 start, highlighted by the play of Buckwalter and rookie Tori Forrest (Powder Springs, Ga.) with two kills apiece in the stretch. The Crusaders battled back and trailed by one at 16-15, but the Wildcats came right back with a 4-1 stretch for the 20-16 advantage. UNH held on the rest of the way to take the set, 25-19. UNH posted 19 kills in the stanza for a .405 hitting percentage.
The teams were tight early in the third set with UNH holding a slight edge at 8-6, but the Wildcats then scored six straight, headlined by a pair of service aces by Schnepp for the 14-6 advantage. The Wildcats maintained a sizable lead at 18-11 and closed out the stanza with a 7-0 run for the 25-11 win to seal the victory.
The Wildcats continue play at the Holly Young Invitational Saturday, opening against Central Connecticut State at 12:30 p.m. before hosting William & Mary in the "Pack the Arena" match at 7:00 p.m.