Volleyball: UNH falls in first spring game

By Josh Sullivan
On April 4, 2014

The UNH volleyball team fell to a hard-hitting, aggressive Boston College team in a spring game on Tuesday, losing four sets to one. Though it suffered a tough loss, the team is more focused on the greater goal of the spring season: to develop skills in time for the beginning of the regular season in the fall. 

"They're a solid team and I think it's a great opportunity to play this team in spring season when we're polishing all our skills," junior Taylor Dunklau said. "I can see the gears turning in our heads and everything coming together."

"Everyone gets to play, so we get some great experience out of [spring games]," head coach Jill Hirschinger said. "We just want to get better skill-wise. Everybody needs to increase their skill set from passing, blocking. We're not worried about developing as a team right now but we just want to be better volleyball players when we finish the spring."

"It's so much fun to try new combinations, but to also set ourselves up to be as steady as we can when we welcome our new players in the fall," sophomore Tori Forrest said.

The squad is looking to replace the production and leadership from their two co-captains, Destiny Tolliver and Morgan Thatcher, who are graduating in the fall and not part of the spring scrimmages. Tolliver led the team in blocks with 130 and was third on the team in kills with 219. Thatcher was the American East Player of the Year and led the team with 349 kills.

"You miss their leadership, but I think the new captains are stepping forward with a new team identity," Hirschinger said. "We're going to add four new players in the spring, so it will be a whole new team."

"I think they did a phenomenal job of setting examples for the younger players for exactly what this team needs," sophomore Maddie Lightfoot said.

"We miss them, we love them and they were such a big and unique influence on us," Forrest said. "Luckily, we had such great leadership while they were here, so there's not much of a drop off because they set such a great example."

"We adapt and overcome. It's almost like nothing's missing," Dunklau said. "They set us up for success, so we want to carry on the legacy they left. People have stepped up when they've needed to step up."

The 'Cats will play in two tournaments this spring before closing out the season, one at the University of Rhode Island and another at home. They will look to share the wealth of playing time and get everyone to contribute.

"It's awesome to have 14 players for a spring team, and that's huge because it will be so much fun for us try out new things and new lineups," Forrest said. 

The 'Cats will take on Maine, UConn, Harvard and URI in the spring invitational on Saturday, April 24. The tournament will begin at 10 a.m.

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