The University of New Hampshire (UNH) volleyball team went 1-2 to open their season at the Mercer Tournament in Macon, GA last weekend. The team faced Murray State, Mercer, and Stetson in the three-game tourney. The Wildcats had no previous history against Mercer and Stetson. The last time the team played Murray State University was back in 2008.
The Wildcats’ first game of the tournament came against the Murray State Racers last Saturday afternoon. Despite a strong finish, UNH lost in four sets (12-25, 20-25, 25-23, 25-27). The Wildcats were taken down by a minus 19 kill differential and a low .129 hitting percentage.
The Wildcats faced off against the Mercer Bears in their second matchup of the tournament. The team lost in four sets (21-25, 25-22, 22-25, 24-26). Mercer went on to finish the tournament 3-0. The Wildcats had a much-improved showing in this one. The team only had a point differential of minus six across the four sets. To put that into perspective, the ‘Cats had a point differential of minus 18 against Murray State. The team put together 51 kills and a .278 hitting percentage.
“I thought we played well in bits and pieces,” said head coach Christopher Feliciano after the two losses on Friday. “We struggled a little bit on capitalizing and gaining momentum on other mistakes. You see that with the majority of a young team, we aren’t making excuses, we need to get better, and we recognize that.
In the final game of the Mercer Tournament, UNH volleyball defeated Stetson in four sets (25-20, 13-25, 25-17, 25-22) to close the tournament with a 1-2 record. The team put together dominant efforts in both the third and fourth sets. The ‘Cats had a hitting percentage over .300 in their best offensive set of the tournament. The win was a much-needed confidence boost for the young team.
Sophomore outside hitter Hannah Serbousek had a strong weekend for the Wildcats. In game one against Murray State, she totaled nine kills, four aces, and four blocks. In game two against Mercer, she tallied nine more kills to go along with two aces and two blocks. In Game 3 on Saturday against Stetson, she picked up right where she left off tying a match high with twelve kills and a .400 hitting percentage.
Two first-year athletes also played big rolls to open the season. Right side hitter Marisa Armer posted a team high twelve kills against Mercer while also putting up eight kills and four blocks against Murray State in the opener. Middle blocker Nadia Goich put up six kills in just her second game with the Wildcats.
The Wildcats are back in Durham Thursday against Fairleigh Dickinson at 7 p.m., Friday against Siena at 6:30 p.m., and Saturday against Providence at 2 p.m. The team is coming off multiple years under Feliciano in which strong home performances were a staple of the team. The team went 2-0 at home last season and 7-2 the year prior.
Photo courtesy of UNH Athletics