Last week the Wildcats (8-11, 4-1) were on the road, traveling to Baltimore, MD to face UMBC (4-13, 0-3) and Vestal, NY to challenge Binghamton (4-13, 2-2).  

The America East conference recognized a pair of Wildcats this week.   

Junior libero Emily Tanski won Defensive Specialist of the Week for the third time this season after leading the Wildcats with multiple 20-plus dig games.   

Junior outside hitter Kennedi Smith took home America East Player of the Week, as she led the Wildcats to two wins while hitting .221, and recording 4.43 digs per set.   

In Baltimore on Friday, UNH was able to sweep UMBC 3-0 adding another important conference win for the Wildcats. UNH is now 22-10 lifetime against the Retrievers. 

The sweep is not telling to how the game was played, as each set was closely contested.  

Smith recorded another double-double (11 kills and five digs), and senior middle blocker Gabri Olhava racked up a match-leading 16 kills on Friday.  

The first set went back and forth, as there were five ties and one lead change throughout the set.  

UMBC got out to an early 7-5 lead, until senior middle blocker Alexa Markman recorded three consecutive blocks, teaming with senior outside hitter Molly Wotton on the first block and junior right-side hitter Hannah Petke on the next two blocks.  

UNH held the lead until UMBC went on a run, knotting up the score at 21 a piece.  

The Retrievers hopes were broken quickly, as Olhava recorded a kill and a block to give the ‘Cats a two-point lead, which would lead to a set ending kill by Petke.  

Set two was close as well, as UMBC jumped out to an early four-point lead, only for the Wildcats to fight back to take a 7-6 lead.  

The teams would trade points over the course of the set, as there were 13 ties and five lead changes. Neither team could pull away, until the game was tied at 26 and UMBC recorded back-to-back errors which handed the Wildcats the win in the second set 28-26. 

The Wildcats got off to a strong start in the third set, holding a 13-5 lead early, yet momentum changed quickly. UMBC commenced an 18 point comeback to take the lead, 23-22. Coach Jill Hirschinger called her final timeout of the set before the last few plays of the set.  

The Wildcats converted out of the timeout with Wotton earning her sixth kill of the set. UMBC followed that up with an attack error, and Petke finished the set 25-23 with her tenth kill.  

UNH continued their success on Sunday against Binghamton, beating the Bearcats 3-1.   

Smith had another double-double, chalking up a match-high 15 kills and 16 digs. Her double-doubles this weekend have her at nine on the season.  

Tanski led the team in digs with 21.  

Binghamton had a tough time in the first set, as the Wildcat’s blocking exposed some of Binghamton’s issues. Binghamton hit -.029, which means they had more errors than they did kills.  

UNH won the first set 25-16, going on multiple runs and never letting Binghamton into the game.  

The Wildcat’s won the set with strong play from Smith, Petke, Markman, and junior defensive specialist Logan Welti.  

The second set was more tightly contested. Binghamton was able to turn things around and recorded a hitting percentage of .400.

After starting with a 6-5 lead, UNH ‘s momentum fell off as Binghamton set out on a 7-1 run which gave them a 12-7 lead. Binghamton was able to stretch their lead to 17-14, and they capitalized by going on a four-point run to give them a 21-14 lead.   

The Wildcats bit back to tighten the gap, but Binghamton prevailed winning the second set 25-19.   

In the third set, UNH burst out to an early 3-0 lead until Binghamton fought back to take the lead 5-4.  

The teams exchanged points for a while, then the Wildcats got ahead with two kills from Petke and one by Smith that ignited a 9-1 run. The ‘Cats were ahead 16-9, then after trading points UNH won five of the last six to win the set 25-16.  

UNH dominated the fourth and final set, as they hit .324 and Binghamton hit .103.  

When up 17-13, Smith and first-year middle blocker Maddie Wiedenfeld recorded kills that extended the Wildcat lead to 20-13.  

Binghamton cut the deficit to three points, only for the Wildcats to record back-to-back blocks that eventually closed out the set 25-20 and the match 3-1.  

The Wildcats will be at home for their next matchup against Albany. The game takes place on Sunday Oct. 14 at 1:00 p.m. at Lundholm Gymnasium in Durham.