LOS ANGELES - Senior right side hitter Morgan Thatcher (Brockton, Mass.) recorded eight kills but the University of New Hampshire volleyball team was defeated 3-0 by sixth-ranked University of Southern California in Thursday's NCAA first round game at the Galen Center.
The set scores were 25-9, 25-10 and 25-12.
New Hampshire finishes the season with a 20-13 record as its season-high nine game winning streak was snapped by the Women of Troy. Southern California, which received an at-large invitation out of the PAC-12, advances to the second round, improving to 27-5.
In the first match of the evening, California State University, Northridge topped No. 12 Colorado State 3-2 (25-15, 25-21, 13-25, 18-25 and 15-12). USC and UC Northridge will compete on Friday, Dec. 7 at 10 p.m. (7 p.m. PT) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Following Thatcher's eight-kill effort, senior right side hitter Destiny Tolliver (Rochester, Mich.) chipped in four kills and a block to aid the offense. Junior setter Taylor Dunklau (Mukwonago, Wis.) registered 13 assists. Sophomore defensive specialist Madison Lightfoot (Clarkston, Mich.) scooped up six digs.
In the opening set, the Women of Troy downed the Wildcats by a score of 25-9 on the strength of 15 kills and a .636 hitting percentage. Sophomore outside hitter Tori Forrest (Powder Springs, Ga.) as well as Thatcher and Tolliver logged two kills each for UNH. Freshman outside hitter Ebony Nwanebu paced Southern California with six kills with a .857 clip. Sophomore outside hitter Samantha Bricio notched four service aces in the set.
New Hampshire fell behind early to start the first set as USC opened a 7-2 advantage. The Wildcats received offensive contributions from Dunklau, Tolliver and Thatcher. However, Southern California kept the pressure on, hitting at a game-high .636 clip in the frame. The Wildcats called a timeout, trialing 20-6. After the stoppage, Thatcher would strike two kills to cut Southern California's lead. Despite UNH's efforts, the Women of Troy captured the first set, 25-9.
USC captured set two 25-10 powered by a 17-kill effort from the Women of Troy. New Hampshire tallied six kills in the stanza.
The Wildcats were outmatched in the second frame as Southern California took set two, 25-10. New Hampshire registered six kills with a pair coming from junior middle blocker Delaney Dameron (Alpharetta, Ga.). Freshman middle blocker Demi Muses (Orangevale, Calif.) racked up two blocks in the stanza. Senior middle blocker Alexis Olgard paced the Southern California attack with four kills.
After conceding the first three points, New Hampshire pulled within a point, fueled by back-to-back rejections from Muses. However, Southern California stormed ahead, tallying six of the next eight points to take a 9-4 lead. New Hampshire could not slow down the USC offense despite receiving kills from Thatcher and Tolliver. Southern California capped of the second set on a 9-2 run to go up two games by a score of 25-10.
The Women of Troy completed the three-set sweep as USC took the decisive set 25-12. Thatcher paced all hitters in the third set with five kills on the strength of a .571 hitting percentage. Senior outside hitter Sara Shaw and freshman outside hitter Elise Ruddins each registered four kills apiece for USC.
Southern California continued to serve efficiently as Bricio began the third frame on a pair of service aces, sparking a 12-2 run. UNH crept back into the match as Thatcher recorded back-to-back kills. The right side hitter chipped in three kills later in the frame. Despite UNH's efforts, New Hampshire could not rally as USC seized match point, 25-12.
The end of the 2013 season marked the end of UNH careers for seniors Thatcher and Tolliver. The duo led the Wildcats to three America East postseason appearances, a conference title and their first NCAA Tournament appearance in a decade. For more information about UNH volleyball, please log onto UNHWildcats.com.