September 9, 2013

Volleyball Set to Clash with Bulldogs

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DURHAM, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire volleyball team will conclude a four game home stand, hosting Bryant in a non-conference contest on Tuesday, Sept. 10 at 7:00 p.m.

All-Time Series: The Wildcats and Bulldogs have met five times dating back to 2008. New Hampshire (4-3, 0-0 America East) leads the all-time series with a 3-2 record. At Lundholm Gymnasium, the Wildcats and Bulldogs each have a win, Bryant claiming the last victory in 2011. In the last meeting between the two institutions, the Wildcats were victorious at Chace Athletic Center, defeating Bryant 3-1, (23-25, 25-20, 25-18, 25-13). 

Scouting Bryant: Bryant (0-6, 0-0 Northeast) played in the Boston College Invitational, falling to the host Eagles in straight sets as well as to Hampton and Fairfield in decisions of 3-1 and 3-0 respectively.

Sophomore outside hitter Claire Van Dyk is the leader of the Bulldogs' offense, averaging 2.42 kps. Additionally, Van Dyk averages 1.47 dps. Assisting Van Dyk on the attack is senior outside hitter Kaitlyn Klein, posting 1.89 kills per set. Orchestrating the offense, sophomore Jana Kmec is pacing the squad in assists, posting 7.16 aps. As an offense, the Bulldogs hold a .136 hitting percentage. 

Defensively, junior libero Elena Lohr has accumulated 27.9 percent of the Bulldogs' digs this season, averaging 2.79 dps.  On the front line, freshman middle blocker Mallory Wilczynski spearheads the blocking game, registering eight blocks thus far. As a team, opponents are hitting at a .297 clip against the Bryant defense.

The State of New Hampshire: The UNH volleyball team hosted its eighth annual Holly Young Invitational, taking two wins in their first home games of the 2013 season. 

New Hampshire rallied from two sets down to defeat Brown 3-2 (19-25, 19-25, 25-22, 25-19, 15-8) and took down St. John's in straight sets 3-0 (25-22, 26-24, 25-13). Missouri State was able to defeat the Wildcats in the tournament finale, 3-0 (22-25, 22-25, 22-25).

Senior co-captain and right side hitter Morgan Thatcher (Brockton, Mass.) powers the Wildcats' offense, tallying an America East best 3.14 kps. Assisting Thatcher on the attack is sophomore outside hitter Tori Forrest (Powder Spings, Ga.) The business major has averaged 2.64 kps and has tallied three double-doubles this season. Aiding the offense, Taylor Dunklau (Mukwonago, Wis.) has sparked the Wildcats' attack to a conference best .220 hitting percentage, dishing out 8.00 aps. 

Helping the defensive efforts, senior co-captain and right side hitter Destiny Tolliver (Rochester, Mich.) leads the 'Cats in blocking with 36 total blocks. Additionally, the biology major is currently ranked 50th in Division I, earning 1.29 bps. Sophomore defensive setter Madison Lightfoot (Clarkston, Mich.) anchors the back line, tallying 3.71 digs per set. Opponents are hitting just .186 against the Wildcats this season.

All-Tournament Accolades: New Hampshire have participated in two tournaments this season. Thus far, four Wildcats have received all-tournament honors. Thatcher and Tolliver were named to the Lehigh Classic All-Tournament team in the opening weekend of the 2013 campaign. Dunklau and Forrest were bestowed all-tournament honors at the Holly Young Invitational. 

Double-Double: Forrest has tallied three career double-doubles in her career, all in her sophomore season. When Forrest has tallied a double-double, the Wildcats are 2-1.

League Leaders: As a team, New Hampshire leads the America East in hitting percentage (.220) and blocks per game (2.18). Individually, Thatcher ranks first in kills (88) and kills per set (3.14). Sophomore middle blocker Cassidy Croci (Sylvania, Ohio) paces the conference in hitting percentage, striking at a .382 clip. Tolliver is on top of the block rankings, boasting 36 total blocks and 1.29 bps. 

Due Next: The Wildcats embark on a season long 11 game road trip starting at the Maryland Tournament. New Hampshire takes on Maryland on Friday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. Villanova and George Mason competes with the 'Cats on Saturday, Sept. 14 at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. respectively.

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