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UNH opens season with split at UAlbany


ALBANY, N.Y. – The University of New Hampshire (UNH) women’s volleyball team (1-1) played their first two games of the season this weekend. The Wildcats faced off against the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) (0-3) on Saturday at University Gym in Albany, N.Y.  

The Wildcats won the first set 25-14 showing why UNH head coach Christopher Feliciano is confident in the group they have this season. The ‘Cats had a match-high .351 hitting percentage and 14 kills in the first set.  

The Highlanders won the second set 25-20 bringing the game back to even at 1-1. The ‘Cats didn’t let up after the second set winning the third and fourth sets 25-17 and 25-13 respectively.  

First-year outside hitter Gabby Smith led the Wildcats with 15 kills in her collegiate debut which was five more than the next closest Wildcat. She seems to be poised for a big season along with junior middle blocker Abby Sullivan who had 10 kills in the match and five blocks.  

“Tonight’s win was a reward for many reasons, first and foremost, our program recognizes the hard work that has been put into allowing fall sports to compete during the spring semester,” said UNH Head Coach Christopher Feliciano. “It’s important that our efforts are worthy of the commitment from the administration to student-athlete experience.”  

Feliciano also noted the perseverance of the team. 

“Our team stepped up with many of them playing out of position,” explained Feliciano. “They picked up their teammates who were on pause this week due COVID protocols. When asked to play out of position, they were willing to put each other first. It was a great team win.” 

The ‘Cats 3-1 win marked their first win of the season giving them a 1-0 record heading into their matchup against the University of Albany (UAlbany) (3-1) on Sunday.  

The Great Danes came out on fire in the first set beating the Wildcats 25-21. The ‘Cats battled back in the second set and won 25-20. Junior Abby Sullivan of the Wildcats continued her strong play from Saturday with 11 kills in Sunday’s matchup. UAlbany won the third set 25-21 in a tough set for both teams. The Great Danes finished off the match by winning the fourth set 25-23.  

UNH had a big lead in the third set and Feliciano spoke after that after the match. 

“We will continue to work on improving and utilize today’s match as a learning moment.”  

Despite the loss, the Wildcats will look forward to building off of the game and utilizing their game plan to get more wins. Part of that involves junior co-captain Kate Bilyeu who made her debut Sunday with nine kills and 14 digs. The ‘Cats next matchup is Sunday, March 14 against Stony Brook at Pritchard Gymnasium in Stony Brook, N.Y.  

Photo courtesy of UNH Athletics.

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