DURHAM, N.H. -- Following the program's fourth America East title, head coach Jill Hirschinger of the University of New Hampshire volleyball team announced the 2014 schedule on Monday, June 2.
New Hampshire posted a 20-13 record in 2013 en route to punching its ticket into the NCAA Tournament, competing at sixth-ranked University of Southern California. The Wildcats are in the midst of a 10-match home winning streak at Lundholm Gymnasium, the longest unbeaten streak at home since 2003.
The 2014 campaign features a 29-match slate including contests against teams from 13 different conferences: America East (12), American Athletic, Atlantic 10, Big East, Big Ten, Colonial Athletic, Independent, Ivy (3), Mid-American, Missouri Valley, Mountain West, Northeast (3), Ohio Valley and Western Athletic. New Hampshire is committed to four in-season tournaments and will play seven neutral games, 10 road contests and 12 frays at Lundholm Gymnasium.
UNH squares off against two programs that advanced to the NCAA Tournament and ranked in the top 100 RPI from 2013. New Mexico State University, the defending champion in the Western Athletic Conference, weighs in as the Wildcats' toughest test this fall finishing 93rd in the national RPI rankings. Morehead State University also proves to be an arduous opponent as well. The reigning Ohio Valley Conference champions concluded the 2013 campaign ranked 97th in RPI.
The Wildcats see five new opponents for the first time in program history. The quintet of foes consists of Indiana University, Fresno State University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Morehead State and New Mexico State.
New Hampshire begins the 2014 season with non-conference play at the University of Connecticut for the UConn Invitational (Aug. 29-30). The 'Cats clash against host UConn (Aug. 29) as well as Indiana (Aug. 30) and Central Connecticut State University (Aug. 30).
UNH continues tournament play at Kent State in the Golden Flashes Classic, September 5-6. The 'Cats play in a trio of games against the University of Evansville, Morehead State University and the host Golden Flashes. Dates and times of the opponents are still to be determined.
The Wildcats remain away from Durham, traveling to nearby Bryant University to tussle with the Bulldogs on Tuesday, Sept. 9.
New Hampshire competes in its last away tournament at St. John's (N.Y.) in a quartet of matches. UNH starts the St. John's Kaiser Classic against St. Francis Brooklyn and the host Red Storm on Friday, Sept. 12. New Hampshire closes out the tourney Saturday, Sept. 13 with matches against Fresno State and Granite State rival Dartmouth College.
UNH volleyball makes its 2014 debut to Lundholm Gymnasium on Tuesday, Sept. 16 in a heads-up match against Northeastern University to spark a nine-game homestand.
The Wildcats compete in their last tournament of the regular season hosting the annual Holly Young Invitational. Lundholm Gymnasium sets the stage for UNH to compete against Brown University, the University of Rhode Island and New Mexico State on Sept. 19-20.
New Hampshire seeks to make it three straight wins against Harvard University, which treks north to Durham to clash with the 'Cats on Wednesday, Sept. 24.
UNH's America East title defense initiates Friday, Sept. 26 when New Hampshire hosts the University of Massachusetts Lowell. The Wildcats wrap up non-conference play Sunday, Sept. 28 (1 p.m.), welcoming NJIT for the first time in program history.
New Hampshire caps off its nine-game homestand as Binghamton University (Friday, Oct. 3) and the University at Albany (Sunday, Oct. 5) compete in the confines of Lundholm Gymnasium.
The Wildcats journey to the Mid-Atlantic to take on the University of Maryland, Baltimore County on Sunday, Oct. 12 in a re-match of last year's America East Tournament title game.
UNH remains away from the Granite State on the weekend of Oct. 18-19 as the 'Cats take on Stony Brook University and the University of Hartford, respectively.
The Wildcats settle in at home on Friday, Oct. 24 to take on UMBC followed by a three-game road swing against Albany (Oct. 31), Binghamton, (Nov. 2) and UMass Lowell (Nov. 7).
UNH closes out the 2014 regular season with Stony Brook and Hartford on Thursday, Nov. 13 and Friday, Nov. 14, respectively, at Lundholm Gymnasium.
The top four teams will compete in the 2014 America East Tournament with the No. 1 seed serving as the host. Times and dates of the tournament are to be announced. The winner of the America East Championship will receive an automatic bid to the 2014 NCAA Tournament.
The 2014 NCAA Tournament will kickoff with the first round at campus sites December 4-5 and progress into the round of 32 on Dec. 6-7. The Sweet 16 is set for Dec. 12 before advancing to the Elite 8 on Dec. 13. The Final Four this season will be held in Oklahoma City, Okla., Dec. 18-20.
New Hampshire returns 13 letterwinners from last year's championship squad, including America East All-Conference First Team selection Tori Forrest (Powder Springs, Ga.). During her sophomore year, the outside hitter ranked tied for first on the team in kills with 349. Taylor Dunklau (Mukwonago, Wis.), the reigning America East Tournament's Most Outstanding Player and Second Team honoree, returns as UNH's setter. The upcoming senior orchestrated the conference's highest attack percentage for UNH last season in league play with a .237 clip. The Wildcats will miss the likes of the America East Player of the Year Morgan Thatcher (Brockton, Mass.) and conference second teamer Destiny Tolliver (Rochester, Mich.). Four new 'Cats, consisting of, Courtney Bowman (Chagrin Falls, Ohio), Sasha Cucuz (Plymouth, Mich.), Katie Rebrovich (Burleson, Texas) and Molly Wotton (Dover, N.H.), bolster the UNH squad poised to make a deep run in 2014.
Check out www.UNHWildcats.com or follow the Wildcats via social media on Facebook (www.facebook.com/UNHWildcats), Twitter (@UNHWildcats), YouTube (www.youtube.com/UNHAthletics) and Instagram (@UNHWildcats) for the latest news and information on all 20 varsity sports. For additional information on the UNH volleyball team, like the squad on Facebook (www.facebook.com/UNHVolleyball) or follow the 'Cats on Twitter and Instagram at @UNHVOLLEYBALL.