BALTIMORE – Senior Ali Goc (Oshawa, Ontario/R.S. McLaughlin) collected her team-best eighth double-double of the season by sending down 11 kills and picking up 19 digs, but it was not enough as New Hampshire defeated the UMBC volleyball in four sets (20-25, 25-19, 25-23, 25-23), Sunday afternoon in America East action at the RAC Arena.
Sophomore Sherelle Walker (New Freedom, Pa./Susquehannock) and junior Hannah Schmidt (Catonsville, Md./Mount de Sales) also sent down double-digit kills for UMBC (11-7, 2-1 AE) who saw its six-match home winning streak come to an end.
Goc's 19 digs led the UMBC back line while setter Rebecca Garrigues(Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) also earned a double-double with 29 assists and 12 digs.
Tori Forrest led all hitters with 18 winners while Abby Brinkman also put away 13 kills for New Hampshire (8-11, 2-1 AE). Forrest also scooped up 14 digs for the double-double while liberoMadison Lightfoot picked up 23 digs.
The first set was a balanced affair as the Retrievers and Wildcats were knotted on eight occasions and traded the lead four times. After Demi Muses brought the visitors level at 15-15, UMBC ripped off three straight, the last on an ace by Goc, and the Retrievers did not look back. UNH tried to chip its way back in, but UMBC was too much, outhitting the Wildcats .235-.028, and took the set 25-20.
New Hampshire came out gunning in the second frame and jumped out to an 8-4 lead on another kill by Muses. The visitors looks to be cruising to an easy second-set win and led by as many as ten, 22-12, but the Retrievers won seven of nine points late in the set to cut the lead to five, 24-19. The Wildcats took the set though on the next point as Morgan Thatcher sent down a winner.
UMBC looked to turn the tide in the third set and began brightly, staking out to a 7-3 lead on a block by Walker and sophomore Krystal Mlemchukwu (Baltimore, Md./Western Tech). New Hampshire was able to hang around, though, and eventually drew level at 12-12 on a Retriever attack error. The Black and Gold did not look fazed, however, and regained control with an 8-3 run for a 20-15 advantage late. But, the Wildcats put together one last run and overtook the Retrievers for a 25-23 set win.
The fourth set was the closest of all as the two squads traded haymakers as the Retrievers looked to push the contest to a decisive fifth set. Walker came up big for the hosts, putting away six kills in the frame, but Brinkman answered with seven winners for the Wildcats. UMBC looked poised to force an extra frame with a 22-19 lead, but UNH won six of the final seven points to escape with a 25-23 win in the fourth.
UMBC now hits the road for two contests in New York next weekend. The Retrievers take on Albany in the Empire State capital on Friday at 7:00 p.m. before heading to Binghamton to face the Bearcats on Saturday afternoon.
- New Hampshire has now won three straight meetings versus UMBC to claim a 12-9 lead in the all-time series.
- With her first kill of the third set, UNH's Morgan Thatcher recorded her 1,000th career kill.
- Freshman Casey Griffith (King of Prussia, Pa./Upper Merion) scooped up 16 digs and has picked up double figure digs in all 14 of 17 contests this season.