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UNH drops two of three in Philly

UNH travelled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the weekend as they battled some of the nations top teams in the Temple Tournament. UNH squared off against Big-10 conference foe Rutgers, tournament host Temple and three time defending Horizon League champions, Cleveland State. The Wildcats played well but after an opening win against Rutgers 3-1, they dropped their final two matches to Temple and Cleveland State, both by a final score of 3-1.

After coming off a loss to Bryant, Rutgers was a great test for the Wildcats. Not only was this match against a tough opponent, but it also gave UNH some healthy exposure outside America East, as they beat the Scarlet Knights in four sets.

“It was a big win for the program,” head coach Jill Hirschinger said.

Freshman Emily Tanski continues to shine as she notched her fourth double-double of the season with 10 kills and 14 digs. Senior Demi Muses was a kill away from a double-double of her own with nine, while recording 11 digs. Fellow senior captain Keelin Severtson added 39 assists in the win.

When facing the tournament host Temple, the script was flipped as UNH fell in four sets. Junior Courtney Bowman led the way with 14 kills. Tanski added 12 kills and eight digs as well. UNH kept the deficit within single digits in the first two sets, but eventually fell behind 2-0.  The ‘Cats struck back and won the third set 25-18, but failed to rally as they lost the match in the fourth set losing 25-15.

Only hours after the matchup with Temple, the Wildcats faced Cleveland State. These two teams share one thing in common, they are both defending conference champions three years running, but Cleveland State held the edge as they won in four sets. Muses led the ‘Cats with 15 kills, and senior Sara Carlson had 19 digs.

“We really battled with them,” Hirschinger said. “We just ran out of gas.”

The Wildcats finished the tournament 1-2, making their record 4-6 overall. Despite the losing record, Carlson walked away with a special recognition.

Carlson was named to the All-Tournament team as she had 57 digs for UNH on the weekend. Carlson, a former standout UNH women’s hockey player, took advantage of her final semester of eligibility, making a great addition to the volleyball team. Carlson currently leads the Wildcats in digs with 114 through 10 games.

Hirschinger spoke proudly of Carlson, describing her actions as impressive and commented on her great defensive play as the libero.

Hirschinger also described the weekend as a “total team effort.” The team was put to work, playing three games in two days. Coach Hirschinger said that Keelin Severtson “acted like a [quarterback],” on the court and had some great sets.

The days of travelling seem to be over for the Wildcats, as their next seven games will be played in Durham. For a team trying to battle back to a .500 record, this home stand made good timing. They start the stretch with Ivy League member Harvard.

“Harvard is always a great match,” Hirschinger said. Her team hopes this home stand can get their record back on track starting Sept. 13.

Home crowds not only have an affect on the players, but also the coaches. Hirschinger mentioned that the crowd helps the team out and the ‘Cat Pack has a great impact during the game. The long home stand before conference play could be just what the Wildcats need to get back to their style of play.

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