The University of New Hampshire (UNH) volleyball team currently sits at 7-5 after winning two of three in the Holly Young Invitational and one of three in the team’s most recent tournament over the weekend at Dartmouth. More recently, the team has won their first two games in the UNH/Merrimack Tournament.
Junior setter and tri-captain Wren Macaulay has been instrumental to the Wildcats success. She currently sits atop the America East Conference (AE) with 360 total assists. In the matchup against Holy Cross at the Dartmouth Tournament over the weekend, she tallied a career high 44 assists in the five-set victory.
The Wildcats dropped three consecutive sets to UConn and three of four to Dartmouth last weekend. Macaulay attributes the two tough losses to “engagement errors or stuff that we have to learn to do to grow together as a team.”
Despite going 1-2 over the weekend, there is plenty that the team can build upon in their tournament this week. Macaulay pointed out that the middles did a fantastic job transitioning last weekend.
Head coach Christopher Feliciano’s message after both the tournaments this month has been to keep the foot on the gas. In a game of runs it’s important not to be on the wrong side of them.
“The way I stay composed [during runs] is that I focus on my teammates,” explained Macaulay. “If somebody is struggling, I’m like, what do they need to do or what can I do for them to put them in a better position?”
Before the year began, Macaulay was named a tri-captain by her teammates.
“It was super exciting,” said Macaulay. “Growing up I’ve always been a captain, so I’ve been working really hard. It has meant a lot to me especially being a setter and having control of the plays and control of the court.”
As the setter Macaulay says she’s also been able to build connections on the floor with her hitters.
“At this point now that I have all their sets down and I could tell you how every single person likes their set on the team. It is subconscious.”
The Wildcats have played games in Georgia, Massachusetts and Hanover, N.H. to begin the year and only three of their ten games have been at home. Playing in Durham has a special feel for Macaulay.
“All of your friends, your family, and all the people you know in the community come out and we’ve done a lot of work with the community so it’s so nice to see people that you know coming out to support you,” said Macaulay.
The Wildcats are 11-3 in their last 14 home games since the 2019 season, and Macaulay thinks the team has the chance to make a run at a conference title this season.
“I don’t even think it has to do with necessarily the skill with our team because I think we have so much skill and so much talent. I think it’s just going to be the mental preparation, the mental aspect of the game, and actually being able to finish a whole three to five sets being engaged from whistle to whistle. Figuring out what we need to do to get that 100% of the time is what would get us to win the America East,” the tri-captain explained.
The Wildcats currently sit alone atop the America East standings through ten games. They will look to rebound this week in the UNH/Merrimack Tournament in Durham.
Photo courtesy of UNH Athletics