Freshmen a major force for Wildcats
‘Cats enjoy strong play from freshmen
Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02
Seven freshmen have taken the UNH volleyball team by storm this fall, and they have proven that they are a force to be reckoned with.
“I love playing with a bunch of young kids,” junior captain Morgan Thatcher said. “They’re great. They’re fiery, so happy to be out there everyday. They just keep us young. We love having them out there and they’re doing a great job. I’m really proud of them.”
Madison Lightfoot (defensive specialist), Abby Brinkman (outside hitter), Tori Forrest (outside hitter), Brenna Buckwalter (middle blocker), Cassidy Croci (middle blocker), Maggie Kenney (outside hitter), and Elizabeth Kennerly (outside hitter/rightside hitter) are the seven freshmen that make up the 15-person volleyball team.
“They’re young,” coach Jill Hirschinger said. “Whoever’s on fire, whoever’s having a good night, that’s who we’ll go with.”
Brinkman, Forrest, and Buckwalter are all starters on the team, an impressive feat given that they are all freshman.
“I didn’t think I was going to start my freshman year,” Buckwalter said. “But I worked really hard in preseason and my team helped a lot so I was able to get that spot.”
Buckwalter has appeared in 16 out of the 17 matches, playing in 50 sets and registering 94 kills. The Evergreen, Colo. native has a .245 hitting percentage.
Brinkman, from Brecksville, Ohio has seen 55 sets over 15 matches, recording 103 kills for a hitting percentage of .154.
Forrest, originally from Powder Springs, Ga., has appeared in every match for the wildcats. She has appeared in 62 sets and recorded 155 kills for a .213 hitting percentage.
Forrest also has recorded 68 digs and 13 service aces.
“I give a lot of respect to our freshman, stepping up to the plate,” senior captain Jansan Falcusan said. “They’re doing everything they can to help us win.”
Not be outdone is Madison Lightfoot, an impact bench player for the team.
The Clarkston, Mich. alum has appeared in every match for the Wildcats, 61 sets overall, and recorded 80 digs.
“I think the freshman are great,” junior Destiny Tolliver said. “It keeps us on our toes. They all come from different backgrounds and it gives us a different look.”
Kennerly, and Croci have each appeared in fewer games, but are still counted upon by their teammates.
“I don’t see a difference in the age, and I think that’s a great thing to see out of those kids and says a lot about them,” senior captain Jessie Schnepp said. “It’s hard coming in as a freshman. They’re confident. They had a great skill set coming in.”
Rounding out the group is Maggie Kenney, from Nashua, N.H. Kenney has yet to show up on the stat sheet for the team, but count coach Hirschinger as one relying on all seven of her freshman.
“The nice thing about having seven of them is that at least two of them will have a good night any given night,” said Hirschinger.
The team currently sits at 9-8, 1-0 in conference. While the freshman got their first taste of conference play on Saturday, Sept. 22 against Providence, the rest of the schedule is all conference games.
“I’m excited for conference,” freshman Tori Forrest said. “It’s something new for all freshman. It’s exciting, and we’re just really hoping to do well for the seniors and upperclassman.”
The Wildcats resume action at UMBC on Friday, Sep. 28 at 7 p.m.