The UNH volleyball team (10-13, 6-3) had an up and down weekend, as they lost to Stony Brook (16-8, 9-0) and defeated Hartford (10-11, 3-6).
Friday’s match against Stony Brook in Stony Brook, N.Y. was a hard-fought match, but Stony Brook left as victors winning 3-1.
In the first set, the two teams traded points until UNH snapped the 11-11 tie with four consecutive points. Stony Brook closed the deficit to one, but junior outside hitter Kennedi Smith recorded a kill and an ace to ignite a 4-0 Wildcat run.
UNH was able to close out the first set on a kill from junior right-side hitter Hannah Petke.
In the second set, Stony Brook reminded spectators why they are undefeated in the America East. The Seawolves broke out to a 6-2 lead to start the set. The Wildcats cut the Stony Brook lead to two at 10-8, but Stony Brook was able to pull away from there. A 22-17 lead for Stony Brook forced Head Coach Jill Hirschinger to call a timeout. The timeout panned out for the ‘Cats and led to back-to-back kills by first-year middle blocker Maddie Wiedenfeld.
Stony Brook followed with two consecutive points to close out the second set.
The third set went back-and forth early, then UNH had a six-point run sparked by two kills by senior middle blocker Gabri Olhava and two service aces by junior defensive specialist Jenny Weston.
UNH had a 22-17 lead, then the Seawolves went on a seven-point run to put themselves at set point. UNH broke the run with a kill from senior outside hitter Molly Wotton, but the Seawolves closed the set to take the match lead 2-1.
The fourth set was close too, as the teams traded runs until the score was 23-22 Stony Brook. Stony Brook called their final timeout after an Olhava kill and a Seawolve’s attack error.
A pair of kills gave Stony brook the set 25-23 and the match 3-1. Stony Brook is currently undefeated in the America East Conference.
Despite the loss, three Wildcats had strong performances. Kennedi Smith recorded her 11th double-double of the season. An impressive performance, she had a match-high 19 kills and three errors on 45 attacks. Smith had a .365 hitting percentage in addition to recording a personal-best 20 digs. Smith’s play was recognized, as she won America East Player of the Week for the fourth time in her career.
Sophomore setter Emma Patlovich had career high 51 assists. Over the course of the week she averaged an America East-best 13.4 assists per set and recorded her tenth 40 assist effort of the season in the win against Hartford. Patlovich took home America East Setter of the Week for the first time in her career.
Junior libero Emily Tanski continued her strong season, as she once again proved why she won America East Defensive Specialist of the week for the fifth time in her career. Tanski averaged a league-best 7.29 digs per set in addition to matching her career high with 35 digs at Stony Brook.
On Sunday in Hartford, the Wildcats were able roll past the Hawks.
The first set started off tight, as the teams battled until the score was at 15 a piece. At that point UNH went on a 4-1 run led by Wotton, who had three kills. The Hawks closed the game to 19-18, but Wotton got another kill. The Hawks won three-straight points to put themselves ahead 21-20.
UNH called a timeout, and out of the timeout Petke and Olhava scored back-to-back kills, then earned two consecutive kills by Olhava and a service ace from Weston to seal the set 25-22.
Hartford was able to get out to an early lead in the second set, as the Hawks held an early 8-4 lead that grew to 11-5 after they won three out of the next four points.
Trailing 14-8, the Wildcats rallied together and went on a 3-0 run to cut the deficit in half.
The Hawks brought their lead back to 21-17, then Smith recorded a kill and Hartford committed two errors to cut their lead to one point. Hartford took the next point, then UNH won four consecutive to put them up 24-22. Hartford extended the court, then Smith got another kill along with a pair of Hartford attack errors to give UNH the set.
In the third set, Smith was dominant once again. She recorded a set-high eight kills without an error, while hitting .571.
Hartford ran out to a 14-10 lead, then UNH fought back with three consecutive kills to cut Hartford’s lead to one point. With the score even at 17, Hartford won a point that was followed by back-to-back kills by Smith.
The score was tied at 20, and first-year outside hitter Emma Tupa got a kill that sparked a 5-0 run for UNH that closed out the set, 25-20. This completed the sweep for the Wildcats.
The Wildcats return home Nov. 2 where they will face off against Binghamton (4-17, 2-6) at 7 p.m. in Lundholm Gymnasium. On Sunday, UMBC (6-16, 2-6) will come to town for a 1 p.m. matchup with the ‘Cats. Sunday’s game will be UNH’s senior night.