UNH Volleyball: Wildcats lose to Binghamton, but bounce back vs. Stonehill

Nick Menounos, Sports Writer

The University of New Hampshire (UNH) Wildcats Volleyball team only had one game on the slate this past weekend. They played an all-important, conference game against the Binghamton Bearcats. The game marked a much-anticipated rematch, after losing three sets to zero on their October 2nd matchup to them in Durham. The Wildcats played much better this second time around pushing the game to its fifth set. Despite this, the Wildcats fell in sets 3-2, dropping their record to 13-8 (2-3 in conference).

The Bearcats were able to cruise by UNH in the first set by a score of 25-14. The game tightened significantly after that, with the Wildcats winning the second and fourth sets by scores of 25-21 and 25-20. The Bearcats had a 25-19 win sandwiched in between. With the game on the line in the fifth and final set, the Wildcats won the first point.

It was all downhill after that, Binghamton scored 9 of the game’s next 10 points en route to a 15-5 win in the final set, and a win for the game. This improved the Bearcats record to 13-6, with an impressive conference record of 4-1. Binghamton’s Ileva Tsvetelina led them in total kills (20) and aces (2). 

On the other side, UNH’s Kara Oxenknecht was the game leader in two separate categories for the Wildcats, totaling an impressive 8 blocks and 12 kills. 

The next test for the Wildcats was a Wednesday evening game against Stonehill. It has been a nightmare season for Stonehill, as they entered the game with a 1-20 record. The Wildcats cruised to a 3-1 win to bring their record up to 14-8.

After Stonehill shockingly won the first set 25-13, UNH responded with three consecutive set wins (25-21, 25-20, 25-16). Most of the game leaders’ statistics do not jump off the page, as it was a true team effort throughout. Meredith Hohnbaum led the team in kills with 10 kills. Mia Pagliarini led both teams with 19 digs. 

The Wildcats 12-5 record in out-of-conference games is very impressive, but they will need to start winning more against other AE opponents now when it matters the most. 

UNH will have plenty of opportunities to do this, as their final five games of the season come against conference opponents. The Wildcats remain in fourth place in the standings, .5 games behind Bryant.

UNH will be back in action Sunday, October 23rd at home. Who do the Wildcats have on the slate? The 1st place UMBC retrievers (11-5, 4-0 in conference) and the reigning America East champions. It will be the first matchup of the year between the two teams, and with playoff implications involved it should be a good one.