BOSTON - Senior Morgan Thatcher (Brockton, Mass.) registered a team-high 10 kills with three digs and four blocks. However, the Huskies defeated the Wildcats 3-1 at the Cabot Center Tuesday evening.
Northeastern (1-3, 0-0 Colonial) tallies their first-win of the season in their home opener. Additionally, the Huskies extend their home-winning streak to 20 games. New Hampshire (2-2, 0-0 America East) loses their first away contest of the season. The Wildcats now lead the overall series 23-19.
Destiny Tolliver (Rochester, Mich.) helped offensively, recording seven kills in the loss while contributing four digs and two blocks. Madison Lightfoot (Clarkston, Mich.) and Keelin Severtson (Boca Ranton, Fla.) led the defense, each registering nine digs. Taylor Dunklau (Mukwonago, Wis.) coordinated the offense, registering 19 assists. Sam Henke (Millersville, Md.) and Lightfoot each tallied three service aces.
Northeastern featured four different players in double digit kills, Nichole Kurtz earning a match-high 14. Ina Kamenova and Jamie Bredhal shared the passing game, tallying 27 and 26 assists respectively. Natalia Skiba paced the defense with 22 digs.
In the first set, the Huskies jumped out to a 7-3 lead, sparked by three kills from Alexa Armstrong. A pair of kills from Henke and Thatcher closed the gap down to three at 9-6. However, Northeastern pulled away with seven unanswered points and 11of the next 12, making the score 20-7 in the first set.
The Wildcats chipped away at the deficit, tallying a couple of swats from Thatcher. Despite their efforts, Kelly Bacon registered four kills in the set, aiding the Huskies to win the opening set, 25-14.
Northeastern and UNH were neck and neck at five all, opening the second stanza. Each side refused to budge as there was seven lead changes by the middle portion of the set. In addition, UNH registered three service aces from Dunklau, Henke and Lightfoot. Neither team led by more than two points in the set as the score stood at 20 all.
New Hampshire built the largest lead of the set, tallying three points in a row, putting the Huskies in a 23-20 deficit. Northeastern did manage to get within a point with Kurz stroking a pair of kills. However, kills from Tori Forrest (Powder Springs, Ga.) and Thatcher allowed UNH to take the set, and level the match at one all.
The Huskies responded in the following set, featuring kills from four different players and a 6-1 lead. Following a UNH timeout, Severtson served up three consecutive points for the 'Cats, closing the Huskies lead to 9-6. Northeastern reconstructed their lead again, powered by Hanna Gibeau and Jamie Bredahl, Down 10-18, UNH called their second timeout of the set.
Following the stoppage, Lightfoot rallied the 'Cats within three, serving up five straight points. Kills by co-captains Tolliver and Thatcher kept the Wildcats within striking distance, but the Huskies captured five of the last six points, taking set three 25-17.
Dunklau sparked the opening of the fourth set, striking back-to-back aces for the Wildcats. The Huskies countered with offensive production from Bredahl and Hanna Gibeau. Even at 10, the Huskies started to pull away. Despite a trio of kills from Tolliver, the Huskies tallied eight of the last nine points to take the final set, 25-17.
The Wildcats will return home to play in Lundholm Gymnasium for the first-time this season, hosting the Holly Young Invitational. The two-day tournament will feature Brown, Missouri State and St. John's (N.Y.) starting Friday, Sept. 6.
New Hampshire will play Brown Friday night at 7 p.m. The 'Cats will then play a pair Saturday, Sept. 7 against St. John's (12:30 p.m.) and Missouri State (7 p.m.). The Saturday night game against Missouri State will be "Pack the Arena" night for the UNH volleyball team.