‘Cats set spring schedule

Bret Belden

It may be early April, but the UNH volleyball team is gearing up for its annual spring season that will be begin Saturday, April 8, with matches against Boston College, Bryant University and Providence College. The ‘Cats then host Boston College on April 20 and Dartmouth College on April 22.

UNH is coming off its fourth consecutive America East conference championship and fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance.

“We are really looking forward to playing other teams and working on improving in every facet of the game. The spring season is for developing individual players and preparing us for next fall,” head coach Jill Hirschinger said.

Hirschinger is the program’s all-time winningest coach with 347 victories and will look to add to that total with a strong group of returning players.

Sophomores Emily Tanski and Kennedi Smith and freshman Gabri Olhava collected all-conference honors last season for the Wildcats and will look to grow throughout the spring.

The spring games are a good gauge to see how the team has progressed since its loss to No. 1 Nebraska in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, which ended the Wildcats season.

“Everyone will gain valuable experience with our focus on developing as individuals and not focusing on the team [as much],” Hirschinger said.

A team like the ‘Cats know better than most that championship seasons aren’t built during the season, but in the offseason and preseason workouts that set a tone that lasts the whole year. These spring games may technically not count come the fall, but the games are a good first taste of competitive play for the Wildcats.