Conference play continues for the Wildcats with two America East road matches against the University of Hartford and University of Massachusetts Lowell. The Wildcats proved to the rest of the conference why they’re the three-time defending conference champions, as UNH won both matches in four sets.
Hartford ended up winning the first set of Friday’s match 25-21. The ‘Cats then came out and went on a three-set rally, winning the sets 25-17, 25-12 and 25-21. A series of runs in the final three sets were the key for UNH in the victory as mid-set point streaks extended their lead to put the match out of reach.
“Hartford outplayed us [in the first set],” head coach Jill Hirschinger said. “[In the later sets] we played harder, we passed extremely [well].”
Freshman Kennedi Smith had a match high 16 kills. She also added eight digs to her performance. Sophomore Gabri Olhava recorded 17 kills, freshman Emily Tanski and senior Demi Muses combined for 21 kills and 29 digs.
After three straight America East wins the Wildcats travelled to Lowell on Sunday, where they defeated the Riverhawks in four sets.
“It was a total team effort,” Hirschinger said, “We had some great offense and some great defense.”
Muses (16 kills), Smith (14 kills) and Tanski (14 kills) led the way up front as the trio led the match with kills between either sides.
The three have been the catalyst for the Wildcat offense this season leading the team in kills and every game one of the three seems to take over and dominate.
Senior Keelin Severtson added 44 assists and Muses led the match in digs with 22.
Severtson provides a unique skill to the ‘Cats as her ability to make accurate passes makes the job of Muses, Tanski, and Smith that much easier. Senior Sara Carlson’s ability to dig and create offense allows plays to develop and allows the Wildcats to get into a rhythm.
UNH started off strong winning the first two sets by a score of 25-16. As the ‘Cats looked to close up the match with a sweep the Riverhawks took set three 26-24. The Wildcats came out during set four and put the game out of reach as they blew the set open with a 25-11 win.
UNH is now undefeated in conference play sitting at 4-0, with two road and two home wins. The ‘Cats share the conference lead with Albany who is also 4-0 early in conference play.
The upcoming games for the Wildcats demand more road tests, this time in the state of New York. The ‘Cats travel to Binghamton Friday, Oct. 14, and then they face off with number one seed Albany Sunday, Oct. 16.
“We’re looking forward to it,” Hirschinger said before they square off against the top team in the America East. “Every set, every match, every point is important,”
The top seed in the America East has the advantage of hosting opponents during the conference tournament, which makes every conference game that important.