November 7, 2013

Volleyball Opens Four Game Homestand Against UMBC and Stony Brook

DURHAM, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire volleyball team looks to stay atop the America East standings, hosting the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Stony Brook University. UNH and UMBC are set to compete Friday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m., while Stony Brook and New Hampshire play Sunday, Nov. 10 at 1 p.m. 

Camp Reunion Day: The UNH volleyball team will hold a camp reunion day on Sunday, Nov. 10 during the match against Stony Brook. This past summer, UNH volleyball hosted approximately 500 volleyball players through individual, elite and team camps as well as position specific skill clinics. Registration for next year's summer camps will be available in December. For more information about UNH volleyball camps, please visit UNHWildcats.com/camps.

All-Time Series: The Retrievers and Wildcats have met 21 times in their history with UNH leading the all-time series 12-9. New Hampshire has won four of the last five contests, including a 3-1 victory at UMBC this season back on Oct. 6. Against the Seawolves, the Wildcats are one game under .500 with a 13-14 record overall. Stony Brook outlasted the visiting 'Cats in a five-set match earlier this season Oct. 4. New Hampshire has topped SBU in its last five home contests.

Playoff Picture: Four conference games remain in the regular season for America East members. UNH currently holds a one-game advantage over UMBC and Stony Brook. The Retrievers and Seawolves also hold a one-game edge over fourth place Albany. The top four teams in the conference earn a place in the America East Tournament. The top seed will host the tournament either Friday or Saturday, Nov. 22 and 23 or Saturday and Sunday, November 23 and 24.

Scouting UMBC: The Retrievers enter the weekend with a 16-9 overall record and 7-3 in conference play. UMBC was triumphant over Binghamton University (Nov. 1; 3-1) and the University of Albany (Nov. 3; 3-2) in the previous week.

Offensively, the Retrievers have four players that have tallied more than 200 kills. Leading the Retrievers in kills, outside hitters Ali Goc paces the offense by averaging 2.71 kills per set. Beside Goc, outside hitters Sherelle Walker (2.56 kps) and Hannah Schmidt (2.44 kps) have eclipsed at least 200 kills as well.

Coordinating the offense, setter Mallory McIntyre (10.26 assists per game) has quarterbacked the Retrievers to a .199 hitting percentage, second best in America East.

In the backcourt, libero Casey Griffith leads the defense in digs with 4.08 digs per set to curb opponents to a 1.58 clip. At the net, middle blocker Krystal Mlemchukwu leads the Retrievers in blocks, averaging 0.97 blocks per set.

Scouting Stony Brook: SBU holds a 14-14 record overall and 7-3 in America East entering the weekend. The Seawolves come off splitting a pair of weekend games against fellow Empire State foes Albany (Nov. 1; 0-3) and Binghamton (Nov. 3; 3-2).

Outside/right side hitter Kaitlin Costello powers the Seawolves offense in kills with 3.29 kps, best in the conference. Fellow outside hitter Melissa Rigo assists the SBU attack, averaging 2.78 kps.

Orchestrating the offense, setter Hannah Dolan has directed the hitters to a .172 hitting percentage this season. Furthermore, Dolan has dished out 8.42 aps so far this season.

Defensively, the Seawolves have conceded a .208 hitting percentage to their opponents. Leading the squad in digs this season, libero/defensive setter Laura Hathaway has accumulated 4.23 dps. Defending the net, middle blocker Stephanie McFadden has tacked on 0.92 bps.

The State of New Hampshire: The 'Cats returns to Durham with a 14-12 record overall and 8-2 in conference play. New Hampshire comes off a pair of straight set wins over the University of Hartford and Providence College.

Against the Hawks (Nov. 1), the set scores were 28-26, 25-15 and 25-21. Junior setter and reigning America East Setter of the Week Taylor Dunklau (Mukwonago, Wis.) recorded 40 assists to lead the offense to a .324 hitting percentage. Earning her third America East Player of the Week honor (Nov. 4), Tori Forrest (Powder Springs, Ga.) tagged a match-high 16 kills on the strength of a .367 hitting percentage. Senior right side hitter Destiny Tolliver (Rochester, Mich.) followed with 11 kills and a .500 hitting percentage as well as match-high four blocks. Madison Lightfoot (Clarkston, Mich.) and Sam Henke (Millersville, Md.) led the defensive effort on the backline with 13 and 12 digs, respectively. 

In the match against the Friars, the set scores were 25-19, 25-22 and 25-17. Right side hitter Morgan Thatcher (Brockton, Mass.) matched a season-high 18 kills and compiled a team-high .419 hitting percentage in the victory. Forrest notched her 10th double-double of the season, posting 12 kills and a game-high 18 digs. Dunklau orchestrated the attack to a .232 hitting percentage, dishing out 39 assists and scooped seven digs. On the backline Henke, Lightfoot and Katie Sattora (Avon, N.Y.) all reached double figures in digs, registering 13, 12 and 10 respectively. Additionally, the Wildcats hindered the Friars to a .108 hitting percentage in the match.

Sweeping at Home: In seven contests this season, UNH has recorded a 6-1 record at Lundholm Gymnasium. New Hampshire has topped its opponent five consecutive times (four against America East opponents) in three sets. Furthermore, the Wildcats hold a 9-6 record in three set matches. 

Crazy Eights: UNH has reached eight conference wins for the first time since 2011 with an 8-2 mark thus far. In addition, this marks the eighth time UNH has reached eight wins in America East play under head coach Jill Hirschinger. The last time UNH held an 8-2 record dates back to November of 2003. In all eight occurrences, New Hampshire has reached the America East Championships.   

League Leaders: New Hampshire is the only team in America East with a hitting average above .200, holding a .201 clip thus far. In addition, Tolliver averages 1.05 blocks per set, a league best. Thatcher and Forrest rank second and third respectively in kills per set, compiling averages of 2.99 and 2.91 respectively. Fourth among all America East setters this season, Dunklau has averaged 9.50 aps while Lightfoot ranks third in digs amongst conference players, compiling 4.28 dps.

Rewriting the Books: Currently, three UNH volleyball players rank in the all-time top 10 in assists, blocks, kills and total attacks. Dunklau ranks fourth in program history, dishing out 1,734 assists. Tolliver joined the 300-block club against Hartford (Oct. 13) and has accumulated 324 in her career, fourth in program history. Becoming just the seventh member of the 1,000 kill club, Thatcher reached the milestone in a nine-kill performance at UMBC (Oct. 6). Thatcher has notched 1,079 kills and 2,781 attack attempts in her career, ranking fifth and eighth respectively.

Due Next: New Hampshire ends its regular season at home, hosting defending America East regular season champion Albany and defending conference tournament champion Binghamton. The Wildcats clash with the Great Danes on Friday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m while the Bearcats visit Durham on Sunday, Nov. 17 at 1 p.m. For more information about UNH volleyball, be sure to visit www.UNHwildcats.com.

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