Thatcher Joins the 1,000 Kills Club, Volleyball Prevails 3-1 Over UMBC

BALTIMOREMorgan Thatcher (Brockton, Mass.) becomes the seventh member in University of New Hampshire volleyball history to register 1,000 career kills, aiding the Wildcats to a 3-1 win over UMBC at the RAC Arena Sunday afternoon. The set scores were 20-25, 25-19, 25-23 and 25-23.

Thatcher recorded her 1,000th kill with the first kill in the third set. 

UNH concludes a season-long 11 game road trip, improving to 8-11 and 2-1 in America East while UMBC fell to 11-7, 2-1. The Wildcats have won the last three matches against the Retrievers.

Tori Forrest (Powder Springs, Ga.) paced the Wildcat offense, registering a career-high 18 kills. Additionally, Forrest tallied 14 digs, earning her fifth consecutive double-double. Abby Brinkman (Brecksville, Ohio) registered 13 kills followed by Demi Muses (Orangevale, Calif.) and Thatcher each tallying nine. Madison Lightfoot (Clarkston, Mich.) finished with a team-best 23 digs, limiting the Retrievers offense to a .172 hitting percentage. Taylor Dunklau (Mukwonago, Wis.) directed the offense, dishing out 49 assists in the victory.

In set one, the Retrievers opened a 6-2 advantage, but New Hampshire responded with capturing five of the next six points to level the match. The Wildcats continued to carry the momentum, taking the lead 10-7. UMBC battled back to tie the match at 10 all, followed by both squads alternating points to push the score to 15-15.

The Retrievers registered three straight points, forcing a UNH timeout, trailing 18-15. The Wildcats inched within 18-17 on kills from Thatcher and Brinkman. However, the Retrievers captured seven of the next 10 points to take a 1-0 lead.

Forrest sparked the 'Cats offense, hitting back-to-back kills to open the second set. UNH continued their momentum, opening an 11-6 advantage. New Hampshire extended their lead to eight, highlighted by a Sam Henke (Millersville, Md.) ace, forcing a UMBC timeout. Despite the Retrievers cutting the Wildcats' lead down to six, UNH leveled the match 1-1. 

UMBC responded, bolting out to a 7-3 lead in the third stanza. After a New Hampshire timeout, the Wildcats battled back to even the set score, 13-13. The Retrievers regained the lead, taking five of the next eight points, forcing another 'Cats timeout.

Following the stoppage, UNH retaliated with five straight points to tie the match again 20-20. Each side exchanged points, pushing the score to 23-23. The Wildcats pushed the Retrievers to set point, fueled by a Brinkman kill. UNH followed up the next rally with a block from Thatcher and Muses to take a 2-1 lead. 

In set four with the score deadlocked at four, New Hampshire tallied a 5-1 run to take a 9-5 lead. Following a UMBC timeout, the Retrievers rallied with a 6-1 run of their own, taking the set lead 11-10. Each side exchanged points as both squads were tied 15-15. After conceding the next two points, UNH took a timeout. UMBC kept their advantage late in the stanza, leading 22-19. After a second UNH timeout, the Wildcats captured three-straight points, tying the set 22-22. Despite a second UMBC timeout, the Wildcats capped of the deciding set with a 3-1 run and winning the match in four sets.

New Hampshire returns to Lundholm Gymnasium for the first time since Sept. 10 to take on Providence and Hartford. The Wildcats clash with the Friars on Friday, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. UNH will host the Hawks on Sunday, Oct. 13 beginning at 1 p.m.

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