‘Cats sweep weekend series
Published: Monday, September 24, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 16:02
The UNH Wildcats overcame Providence and Dartmouth this past weekend, beating both teams 3-0. The Wildcats improved to an overall record of 9-8, and a conference record of 1-0.
“I think we did a good job this weekend,” Head Coach Jill Hirschinger said. “We got two quality wins against two good opponents.”
UNH started off against conference foe Providence on Saturday, Sept. 22 at 2 p.m. The Wildcats won the opening point, but never led again until going up 24-23 late in the set. UNH looked inconsistent the entire set, posting a .182 kill percentage.
The Wildcats got within one on countless times, but kept failing to deliver. Finally, after some solid serve from sophomore Sam Henke, the Wildcats won the set 25-23 on a kill by junior Morgan Thatcher.
The Wildcats started off hot in the second set, taking an early 14-4 lead. Providence put up little resistance, actually posting a -.205 kill percentage (four kills, 12 errors). UNH fired on all cylinders and easily took the set 25-10.
The third and final set was a back and forth affair throughout. All tied up at 16, Providence used their last timeout. This would prove fatal as the Wildcats scored the last five points of the set and match, with Providence helpless to stop the bleeding. UNH won 25-19.
“It’s great to get your first conference win under your belt,” coach Jill Hirschinger said. “My team came out a little nervous, but then they really settled down and worked really hard. They had some really impressive ups and flew after some balls.”
“I think it was a great first conference win,” senior captain Jessie Schnepp said. “Obviously, [being the] first conference match people get nervous, but we came out strong. We struggled a little bit the first set, so we just got to learn how to get our nerves out of the way.”
Junior captain Morgan Thatcher led the way with 14 kills, 14 digs, and a .225 kill percentage. Freshman Brenna Buckwalter also chipped in 10 kills. Both players won awards for their strong play; Buckwalter winning conference rookie of the week and Thatcher winning conference player of the week.
On Sunday, Sept. 23, at 2 p.m. the Wildcats easily disposed of the Dartmouth Big Green. Freshmen Abigail Brinkman and Victoria Forrest led the way with a combined 25 kills, five digs, and a .261 and .394 kill percentage respectively.
UNH bucked their trends of slow starts and came out firing leading 6-2. Mistakes mounted, however, and Dartmouth kept chipping away and keeping the score even. The game was tied, 19-19, when Dartmouth took the offensive and scored three consecutive times to make it 22-19.
The Wildcats would chip in some points of their own, but the Big Green had set point, 24-22. Junior Morgan Thatcher came up in the clutch with a kill to give UNH a point and the serve. After a Dartmouth timeout, sophomore Taylor Dunklau subbed in for Thatcher and served. What ensued was a thrilling volley that ultimately resul ted in a UNH point.
“We were really flying after the ball today,” Hirschinger said. “Lot of effort out there today.”
After a Dartmouth error, UNH led 25-24 and had set point. The Wildcats were unable to seal the deal, and the score was tied yet again. After trading more points, each team had opportunities at set point. It was not until a pivotal kill by Forrest that gave UNH the set, 29-27.
The Wildcats cruised the rest of the way, taking the second set 25-13, and the final set 25-15. Dartmouth’s play really suffered after the first set, posting kill percentages of .111 and
.118 in the second and third sets compared to UNH’s .381 and .382 kill percentages.
Now finished with non-conference games, the Wildcats prepare for their second conference game of the year, at UMBC Friday, Sept. 30 at 7 p.m.