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Team of the Year: Volleyball

The Wildcats volleyball team earns this year’s The New Hampshire Team of the Year award after clinching its third consecutive America East Championship.

The season got off to a hot start for the Wildcats, who were led by six experienced seniors. The team started off 6-2, before dropping five straight games out of conference play. The Wildcats then closed out non-conference play with two wins, before heating up to rip off eight straight wins against conference opponents.

In their final regular season home game, the Wildcats dropped a three set tilt against the Albany Great Danes. The loss galvanized the Wildcats, who closed out the regular season with victories over UMass Lowell, Stony Brook and UMBC to clinch the No. 1 seed in America East and home court advantage in the playoffs.

Prior to the playoffs, the Wildcats swept a number of conference honors, with juniors Demi Muses and Keelin Severtson earning Co-Players of the Year and Setter of the Year, respectively. Senior captain Tori Forrest joined Muses and Severtson on the All-Conference First Team, while senior captain Madison Lightfoot earned Second Team honors. Seniors Abby Brinkman and Cassidy Croci earned spots on the All-Academic Team with Forrest as well.

Forrest and Lightfoot also earned spots amongst the all-time UNH greats this season. Lightfoot recorded a new career digs record of 1,705 digs, while Forrest became one of only a handful of UNH players to record both 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs.

UNH cruised through the America East playoffs, defeating Binghamton and Albany in four sets apiece to earn an America East crown. Forrest earned Most Outstanding Player honors after recording 24 kills in the title game against Albany.

UNH earned a matchup against the No. 11 Florida Gators in the NCAA Tournament and the Wildcats were ousted in three sets. The team finished the season with a 21-9 record.

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