Volleyball Trumps St. John's, Falls to Missouri State to Conclude Holly Young Invitational

DURHAM, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire volleyball team compiled a 1-1 record, concluding the Holly Young Invitational Saturday afternoon.

The results for the neutral games, Missouri State (6-1, 0-0 Missouri Valley) defeated the Bears in the morning match up in straight sets (25-23, 25-20, 25-17). St. John's (4-3, 0-0 Big East) handed Brown (0-3, 0-0 Ivy) a 3-0 loss (25-11, 25-14, 25-15).

The UNH line score in the match against the Red Storm was 25-22, 26-24 and 25-13. Against Missouri State, the Wildcats fell in all three sets by the score of 25-22.

Against the Red Storm, sophomore Cassidy Croci (Sylvania, Ohio) led the Wildcats in kills with 11 while hitting .500 in the match. Fellow classmate Abby Brinkman (Brecksville, Ohio) was also in double figures with 10 kills. Junior setter Taylor Dunklau aided New Hampshire to a .212 hitting percentage, dishing out 30 assists in the win. 

Sophomore defensive setter Madison Lightfoot tallied 14 digs. Morgan Thatcher (Brockton, Mass.) and Destiny Tolliver (Rochester, Mich.) registered blocks of six and five respectively. 

In the following match against the Bears, Forrest posted 11 kills, leading the 'Cats attack. Lightfoot led the defensive effort with 17 digs while Dunklau dished out 26 assists. 

In the first stanza against St. John's, the Wildcats and Red Storm were neck and neck at 11 all. After exchanging points, a pair of kills from Croci and Thatcher carved out a small lead for the Wildcats, earning an 18-15 advantage. St. John's kept it close, tying the match at 21. However, a collective effort from Croci, Thatcher and Tori Forrest (Powder Springs, Ga.) powered New Hampshire to take set one 25-22.

The second set, UNH bolted out to a 5-1 lead, highlighted by a service ace from Dunklau. St. John's rallied, leveling the match at 12 getting the offensive help from Patgutova. After a UNH timeout, the Wildcats captured 10 of the next 13 points. However, the Red Storm battled back, leveling the score at 23 in the latter half of the set. Croci was able to redirect the offense, tallying two of the final three points for the 'Cats, taking the set 26-24. 

St. John's and New Hampshire opened the third and final set close as the score stood at 4-4. The Wildcats pulled away, taking five of the next seven points, forcing a Red Storm timeout. However, New Hampshire kept the pressure on, stringing together a 9-0 run and capturing the final set 25-13.

Against Missouri State, the match was a deadlock at 10 to open the first set. Walton and Thomas tallied a pair of kills, assisting in a three point run. Christine McCartney was able to register a kill as well to expand the lead. Despite a trio of kills from Croci, the Bears captured set one 25-22.

The Bears sparked out to a 9-3 lead to open the second stanza, stringing together eight points in a row. New Hampshire battled back, getting within a point at 21-20. After a Missouri State timeout, the Bears were able to edge the 'Cats out in the set, 25-22. 

New Hampshire began the third and final set, holding a 9-5 edge. However, the Bears rallied, leveling the score at 12 all. Exchanging eight points each, Missouri State and New Hampshire each had 20 points, entering the late stage of the set. Despite a kill from Thatcher, Missouri was able to take the deciding set, 25-22.

Players that were named to the Holly Young Invitational All-Tournament team consisted of: Christine McCartney (Missouri State), Carly Thomas (Missouri State), Kayla Walton (Missouri State), Taylor Dunklau (New Hampshire), Tori Forrest (New Hampshire), Deniz Mutlugil (St. John's) and Alexandra Rieckhoff (Brown).

The Wildcats will remain at home to conclude a four game home stand before beginning a season-long 11 game road trip. New Hampshire will clash with Bryant on Tuesday, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m.

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