LOWELL, Mass. – Sophomore outside hitter Tori Forrest (Powder Springs, Ga.) posted her third consecutive double-double, posting 14 kills and 12 digs, aiding the University of New Hampshire volleyball team to a straight-set win against the River Hawks at the Costello Center Friday evening.
The line score in the first-ever match against Massachusetts-Lowell as a NCAA Division I opponent (0-12, 0-1 America East) was 27-25, 25-18 and 25-22. New Hampshire (7-10, 1-0 America East) wins its first America East game of the season and their fourth consecutive conference opener.
Setter Taylor Dunklau (Mukwonago, Wis.) directed the offense, tallying 38 assists in the match. Dunklau also led UNH defensively, earning 14 digs on the night. Defensive setter Madison Lightfoot (Clarkston, Mich.) also reached double-digit figures in digs, registering 13 in the match.
Outside hitter Ana Anadon led the River Hawks on attack, earning 11 kills. Defensive setter Carolyn Eddy paced the defensive effort, posting 11 digs. Olivia Parkins orchestrated the offense, dishing out 18 assists in the losing effort.
In the opening stanza, each team exchanged points early, bringing the set score at nine all. A pair of kills from Delany Dameron (Alpharetta, Ga.) and a service ace from Dunklau forced a River Hawks timeout. Following the stoppage, Massachusetts-Lowell quickly tallied six straight points, putting the Wildcats in a three-point deficit. Right side hitter Destiny Tolliver (Rochester, Mich.) stopped the River Hawks run, posting three straight kills for the 'Cats. Following a UNH timeout, the Wildcats were able to level the match at 20 all, powered by Forrest and Dameron. Each side exchanged points as the match remained tied at 25. New Hampshire eventually prevailed, capitalizing on a River Hawk miscue and a block by Abby Brinkman (Brecksville, Ohio) and Tolliver to take set one, 27-25.
The Wildcats dashed out to a 9-2 lead to open the second set, fueled by a pair of kills from Forrest and Brenna Buckwalter (Evergreen, Colo.). New Hampshire maintained their lead, bringing the score to 17-10 midway through the set. The River Hawks fell in an 11-point deficit late in the stanza. However, hitting miscues from the 'Cats cut the New Hampshire lead to six. Despite the rally, Tolliver and Dunklau thwarted the comeback, posting a block to end the second set, 25-18.
New Hampshire came out strong in the third set as four different hitters posted kills early. Massachusetts-Lowell retaliated as Anadon registered a pair of kills to put the River Hawks within three points. Forrest and Buckwalter responded for the Wildcats, stringing together three straight points and giving UNH a five-point cushion. The River Hawks chipped away at the 'Cats lead, eventually tying the score at 22. However, the Wildcats abruptly ended the River Hawks' rally. Buckwalter and Brinkman tallied back-to-back kills and Sam Henke (Millersville, Md.) registered the ace to take the deciding set, 25-22.
The Wildcats will be in action next week, concluding a season-long 11-game road trip. New Hampshire will visit Stony Brook Friday, October 4 at 7:30 p.m. UMBC hosts New Hampshire Sunday, October 6, starting at 1 p.m.