The UNH volleyball team (14-6, 4-1) fell short in the battle for New Hampshire, as Dartmouth (7-11, 2-6) defeated the Wildcats 3-1 this past Saturday.
Early on, the Wildcats experienced some great highs, led by senior outside hitter Kennedi Smith earning the 1000th kill of her collegiate career. There was some confusion, however, about which kill was actually her 1000th. “During the play it was kind of confusing, because we don’t know exactly which play it was because the ref had said ‘Kill’, but then it wasn’t, so I just remember getting a kill then everyone cheered,” Smith explained. “I don’t know exactly which kill it was, but I know I got my 1000th and we were excited about it.”
UNH head coach Chris Feliciano also expressed his appreciation for Smith reaching the 1000 kill milestone. “I’m very blessed to have been a part of her great accomplishment. (Smith) is a hard-working young woman who UNH is very lucky to call their own…it’s a testament to what she’s done over the last four years as a volleyball player.”
As for the game itself, the ‘Cats were able to take the first set, winning it 25-21. UNH jumped out to a 4-0 lead, then Dartmouth clawed back shaving the UNH lead to one multiple times before UNH went on a run to build their lead to 10-6.
From then on, the teams alternated points until the score was even at 20. First-year setter Wren Macaulay ripped a jump serve for an ace to give UNH a 21-20 lead, and the Wildcats rode the momentum to victory with Smith and first-year right side hitter Erin Hedrick recording kills to close out the set.
The second set went to Dartmouth 25-20, although it was the Wildcats who started the set with a 6-1 lead. When the Wildcats were up 8-5, the team had a lull in their momentum which spawned a Dartmouth run that put the Big Green ahead 11-9. The set was even keeled until Dartmouth gained momentum after the score was tied at 18. UNH couldn’t stop the bleeding as Dartmouth held the lead with a 3-point run to finish the second set.
UNH followed that with a disastrous third set, where the ‘Cats were rocked 25-14.
Feliciano and Smith were both frustrated with their team’s ability to finish on offense. “We passed well for our hitters and setters to be in good situations, but we didn’t take advantage of those situations,” said Feliciano.
“We were up in the fourth game 23-20, but we just couldn’t put the ball down and they came back and won,” said Smith. She also acknowledged her team may have underestimated their ivy league foe. “We were prepared, and we thought we were going to beat them, but it just didn’t go how we wanted it to go.”
The fourth set was competitive until Dartmouth went on a 6-0 run to finish the match.
UNH continues play with a weekend double header, facing UMBC (4-15, 1-5) on Friday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. and UAlbany on Sunday, Nov. 3 at 1 p.m. Sunday’s game will be the volleyball team’s senior day, honoring seniors Smith, Hannah Petke, Emily Tanski, Jenny Weston and Logan Welti.