DURHAM, N.H. – Junior Destiny Tolliver (Rochester, Mich.) racked up 21 kills and three other Wildcats reached double-figures, but the University of New Hampshire women's volleyball team fell to Albany, 3-2, in the regular season finale Sunday afternoon at Lundholm Gymnasium.
New Hampshire wraps up the regular season at 15-13 overall and 7-5 in America East, while the Great Danes finished 13-14 on the season and 9-2 in conference play to secure the top seed as the tournament host. Set scores in the match were 24-26, 17-25, 25-18, 25-18 and 11-15.
UNH will face off in a rematch against reigning conference champion Albany in the semifinal round of the conference tournament on Friday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. No. 2 Binghamton and No. 3 UMBC will meet in the other semifinal match at 4 p.m. on the same day, while the championship match will take place on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m.
Senior Jessie Schnepp (East Longmeadow, Mass.) posted 19 digs to break the program's single-season dig record. Schnepp currently has 555 digs, surpassing Alyse Lahti's mark of 540 set during the 2007 season.
Tolliver hit at a .362 clip and added six blocks, while junior Morgan Thatcher (Brockton, Mass.) registered 14 kills. Freshmen Tori Forrest (Powder Springs, Ga.) and Abby Brinkman (Brecksville, Ohio) totaled 12 kills apiece, while Forrest also added 11 digs for the double-double. Sophomore Taylor Dunklau (Mukwonago, Wis.) also registered a double-double with 53 assists and 20 digs. Sophomore Sam Henke (Millersville, Md.) and freshman Madison Lightfoot (Clarkston, Mich.) posted 27 and 14 digs, respectively.
Albany held a slim lead throughout most of the opening set, before the Wildcats netted three unanswered to even the score at 20-20. From there, UNH went on a 4-2 stretch for match point, but the Great Danes scored four straight to capture the set, 26-24.
The Great Danes maintained their momentum in the second set with a 25-17 victory. After Albany opened with an 18-10 advantage, the Wildcats trimmed the deficit to four to make it interesting, but the visitors held on for the 2-0 lead.
In the third set, New Hampshire broke away from a 6-6 tie with six straight points as Schnepp capped off the stretch with three service aces to push the home side in front, 12-6. UNH remained in front at 16-11 and padded its lead with four straight to pave the way for the 25-18 victory.
New Hampshire continued to roll in the fourth set by adding to a 10-8 lead with three consecutive points for the 13-8 advantage. After Albany answered with back-to-back points, the Wildcats used a 3-0 stretch to stay in front at 16-10. The Great Danes pulled within three but could not get closer as the home side won the stanza, 25-18, to force a fifth and final set.
In that set, the teams opened by trading points before Albany held a slim one-point lead at 6-5, but the Great Danes netted consecutive points for the 8-5 advantage. UNH pulled within one at 10-9 after a pair of Tolliver kills, but the Wildcats could not even the score as the Great Danes claimed the frame, 15-11, to secure the win.
Fourth-seeded UNH returns to action on Friday, Nov. 16 in the America East Championship semifinals at top-seeded Albany at 7 p.m.