October 4, 2013

Thatcher Leads Quartet of 'Cats in Double-Digit Kills With 14, Volleyball Edged 3-2 at Stony Brook

STONY BROOK, N.Y. -- Morgan Thatcher (Brockton, Mass.) led four University of New Hampshire volleyball players in double-digit kills with 14, but UNH was edged 3-2 Friday night by Stony Brook University at Pritchard Gymnasium. The set scores were 25-22, 18-25, 25-22, 20-25, 15-13.

UNH, which had won its previous two matches, is now 7-11 overall and 1-1 in America East while SBU improved to 12-16, 1-1.

Abby Brinkman (Brecksville, Ohio) recorded 12 kills, followed by Tori Forrest (Powder Springs, Ga.; 11 kills) and Demi Muses (Orangeville, Calif. ; 11), who did not have a hitting error as part of a .550 hitting percentage; she also had a team-leading and career-high seven blocks. Taylor Dunklau (Mukwonago, Wis.) tallied 46 assists to quarterback UNH to a .288 hitting percentage. Madison Lightfoot (Clarkston, Mich.) finished with a team-best 23 digs, which helped limit SBU to a .202 hitting percentage.

In Set 1, UNH won the initial three points of the match and led 7-4 before the Seawolves rallied to tie the score 8-8. The teams alternated points to push the score to 15-15 before the home team, fueled by two Kaitlin Colstello service aces, won five consecutive points. The Wildcats inched within 22-20 on Muses' kill and moments later Dunklau's ace lifted the 'Cats within 23-22. SBU called time out and won the next two points to take a 1-0 lead.

The Seawolves carried that momentum into the opening points of Set 2 to take a 2-0 lead, but New Hampshire responded with a 4-0 spurt – the last two points on Forrest service aces – to go ahead 4-2. SBU trailed 7-4 when it called a timeout and won four of the next five points to level the score, 8-8, en route to regaining the lead, 11-10.

UNH answered with three consecutive points, including one on combined block by Muses and Thatcher and the next on a Thatcher kill, to go back in front, 13-11. The Wildcats led 16-15 when they reeled off six consecutive points to build a 22-15 advantage; Tolliver tallied three kills and an assisted block to ignite the run. Another Tolliver kill and a block by Muses closed out Set 2, 25-18.

In Set 3, the 'Cats jumped out to an early 5-1 lead and was in front 8-3 when Stony Brook called time out and won the next three points to close within 8-6. UNH answered with a 5-1 spurt to surge ahead, 13-7, and the home team called its last timeout of Set 3 with the visitors holding a 17-9 advantage.

SBU began its comeback with a 7-0 run, during which UNH called both of its timeouts, to trim the deficit to 17-16. Thatcher's kill stopped the run, but Stony Brook then won five consecutive points to take its first lead of Set 3, 21-18. The Wildcats fought off two set points with a kill by Forres and block by the duo of Muses and Dunklau, but a Hannah Dolan kill gave the home team a 25-22 win in Set 3 and 2-1 lead in the match.

In Set 4 with the score tied at 4, UNH went on a 5-1 run to go ahead 9-5 and force SBU to call time out. The 'Cats, with three kills by Thatcher, inched ahead and a 16-9 advantage prompted the Seawolves to call another timeout. Leading 19-14, New Hampshire called time out and tallied the next three points to surge ahead, 22-14. SBU closed within 22-17 and 24-20 before Brinkman's kill ended the set at 25-20 and forced a decisive fifth set.

UNH won the race to 15 points in the second, third ad fourth sets, but Stony Brook won that battle when it finalized the match in Set 5. The teams exchanged points and SBU led 8-7 when the teams switched sides of the court. After Tolliver's kill leveled the score at 8, the Seawolves won two consecutive points to mark the first time in the set either team led by more than one point – 10-8.

The Wildcats called a timeout, then back-to-back kills by Dunklau and Forrest pulled the 'Cats even at 10, which prompted the home team to call time out. Forrest recorded another kill, however, to give UNH an 11-10 lead. The Seawolves responded with four consecutive points, however, to advance to match point at 14-11. UNH fended off two match points, but Costello's kill gave SBU the win in Set 5, 15-13, and the match. 

New Hampshire returns to action Oct. 6 at UMBC (1 p.m.). The Wildcats' next home match is Oct. 11 (7 p.m.) vs. Providence College.

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