Volleyball: Aggies down ‘Cats in straight sets

Bret Belden

By Sam Rabuck, Staff Writer

The Wildcats held their annual Holly Young Invitational tournament at the Lundholm Gymnasium this past weekend.

UNH faced off against the Aggies of New Mexico State University for their third and final game of the Holly Young.  Both the Wildcats and NMSU were 2-0 heading into the 7 p.m. finale. 

NMSU came out strong against the Wildcats and took the first set by a score of 25-18. 

With UNH leading 13-12 in the second set, sophomore Demi Muses made an impressive diving play to keep the ball alive, which led to a Wildcats point. Muses stayed down after the play with an apparent ankle injury and would have to miss the remainder of the game. Hirschinger made it clear she was unaware of Muses’ exact status, but indicated that the injury she suffered was likely a sprained ankle.

“That’s all I know,” she said.   “It swelled up.  I haven’t been in the training room at all, but she’ll probably be out for a couple weeks I’d imagine.” 

Despite losing Muses, UNH fought on. NMSU jumped out to an early 8-3 lead that they wouldn’t look back from, claiming the third and final set of the match 25-12.    

“[Playing NMSU] was the most fun we’ve had playing somebody,” Hirschinger said. “It was such a battle and you had to earn every point off them.  It wasn’t sloppy.  It wasn’t ugly.”

Although the Wildcats failed to take a set from NMSU, Hirschinger felt that the tournament was a good learning experience for the team and was proud of the resiliency and poise her team showed playing against three difficult opponents.   

“I think we found our identity this weekend,” Hirschinger said.

UNH kicked off the tournament Friday night against Brown University.  The Wildcats, who were without veteran setter, Taylor Danklau due to a minor head injury, dropped the first set to Brown 25-15.

UNH quickly bounced back and dominated the next two sets. In the fourth set, Brown jumped out to an early 9-4 lead, forcing the Wildcats to regroup with a timeout. The teams would exchange leads several times in the ensuing points, but the Wildcats prevailed, defeating Brown 26-24. 

Muses posted 11 digs in the match. 

“[Muses] does some remarkable things,” Hirschinger said. “She just works hard.  She knows the game and she’s a very experienced player.”   

Senior co-captain, Kate Sattora felt that the dominant play Wildcats responded to dropping the first set with was due to the team’s emotional control.

“We did a good job of playing steady,” Sattora said.  “We didn’t let our emotions get the best of us.  When we were down or when we were up, [spectators] couldn’t really tell the difference.”