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‘Cats claim top seed for America East playoffs

After picking up a win on Friday night against the University at Albany, UNH clinched its fourth straight America East regular season title. They continued their hot play Sunday, as they defeated Binghamton in the regular season finale three sets to one.

The ‘Cats will now host the conference tournament which will include UNH, Albany, Binghamton and the Univeristy of Maryland Baltimore County this coming weekend.

Sunday was the annual senior game for the ‘Cats as they honored their three seniors for their years of hard work for the volleyball program. Demi Muses, Keelin Severtson and Sara Carlson are the seniors on this year’s team.

“This has been the best four years of my life,” Severtson said.

Friday, Nov. 11, the emotion and domination of the Wildcats’ recent play came out. The ‘Cats swept Albany by the scores of 25-12, 25-15 and 25-12.

“I thought we played outstanding,” head coach Jill Hirschinger said. “As the young players developed, it really turned us around.”

It was a total team effort for UNH as four players had eight or more kills and four players with eight or more digs. Freshman Kennedi Smith led the way with 11 kills. Fellow freshman Emily Tanski added 10 kills, and senior Demi Muses notched nine kills and 14 digs.

“We’ve been working hard this week,” Muses said. “We executed perfectly in tonight’s match and it led to a [win].”

Albany’s hitting percentage was .037 which is the second lowest allowed by any team in UNH’s season. All three sets went back and forth until the ‘Cats picked up momentum and closed out the set. The momentum and energy was tough to stop, as Albany took five timeouts in hopes to slow down the Wildcats.

Second-chance victories from earlier in the season was a theme of the weekend as Albany and Binghamton bested UNH in the first meetings between each other in conference play.

On Nov. 13, UNH took down Binghamton in four sets, 25-20, 20-25, 25-19 and 25-16.

The emotions from the win over Albany didn’t distract the ‘Cats. UNH proved they were the better team on the court that day as they were able to rally off two straight set victories to take the match.

Muses and Tanski led the way with kills, tallying 15 and 12 respectively. Sophomore Gabri Olhava added nine kills of her own. Severtson notched 43 assists in the victory.

UNH will now look ahead to a rematch against Binghamton this Friday, Nov. 18 in the America East semifinal matchup at Lundholm Gymnasium. The game will be played at 7 p.m. The America East final is scheduled for Nov. 19 at 4 p.m.

“Now that we’re home [being on the road] was awful, we’re the regular season champ which is awesome, and there’s no place like home,” Hirschinger said.

Four consecutive years hosting the conference championship has been a blessing for the seniors and each team has been special, but Muses thinks this team is different.

“I don’t think we have a limit,” Muses said.

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