By ANDREW YOURELL
The volleyball team is breezing through America East opponents as it defends its back-to-back America East titles.
The University at Albany Great Danes and Binghamton Bearcats were the latest conference casualties, as the ‘Cats efficiently handled both teams on their home courts over the weekend. UNH defeated Albany 3-0 (25-22, 25-20, 25-21) on Friday night in Albany, before traveling to cross-state to Vestral to tackle the Bearcats 3-0 (25-18, 25-23, 25-22). The Wildcats have yet to drop a set to a conference opponent, improving their record to 11-7 and 3-0 in America East.
“Always good to win on the road,” head coach Jill Herschinger said, who praised the Wildcats’ team effort in the wins. “3-0 in America East and 9-0 in sets…the team is working hard and continues to improve.”
Leading the way in both matches was Demi Muses, who recorded double-double efforts in both wins.
Muses logged a career-high .625 hitting percentage in the Albany matchup, chipping 12 kills and 13 digs in. Against Binghamton, the middle blocker added 12 more kills and another 10 digs, marking her sixth double-double of the season. She added three blocks and two aces over the weekend as well.
“Demi had a good weekend both as an attacker and on defense,” Hirschinger said, after lauding the rest of the team’s efforts. “We had a lot of contributors…our passers and defense made our setter and hitters look good.”
Senior co-captain and outside hitter Tori Forrest led the team with 13 kills at Albany, chipping in another seven on Sunday. Cassidy Croci was second on the team in kills against Binghamton with nine, after a five kill effort against the Great Danes.
Junior setter Keelin Severtson provided for her teammates, turning in solid efforts in both contests. Against the Danes, she had a team-high 36 assists, six digs, four service aces and four kills. She added 35 more assists against the Bearcats, with four more digs, an ace and four kills. Severtson currently has the team lead with 33 aces on the season.
Madison Lightfoot, the team’s other co-captain, led the team in digs in both matchups, adding to her UNH career mark. She tallied 17 in the Albany game, and another 16 against Binghamton.
The ‘Cats were unfazed by the road trip to New York, making themselves at home in both opponents’ gyms, despite loud crowds.
“Albany and Binghamton are both good teams and tough places to play,” Hirschinger said.
The two wins have given UNH sole possession of the America East conference at 3-0, though Stony Brook is still unbeaten in conference play, with a 2-0 record.
“We are looking forward to playing at home on Sunday,” Hirschinger said.
UNH will have an opportunity to further extend its conference lead when the UMass-Lowell Riverhawks come to Durham on Sunday, Oct. 11 for a 1 p.m. tilt. UMass-Lowell is currently 3-15, with an 0-2 conference record. The home games will continue after that, with showdowns against the University of Maryland Baltimore County (7-9. 1-1 in America East) on Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. and with Stony Brook (6-12, 2-0 in America East) the following day at 4 p.m.
‘Cats sweep road trip against America East foes
By ANDREW YOURELL