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Hunter Career-High in Kills Not Enough as UAlbany Falls in Five-Set Thriller to UNH

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Hunter Career-High in Kills Not Enough as UAlbany Falls in Five-Set Thriller to UNH

Box Score

DURHAM, N.H. – Twice Amy Hunter had set-winning points in her career-high 18-kill day, but UAlbany fell to New Hampshire on the road in five (23-25, 25-19, 20-25, 25-23, 10-15) on Friday.

“UNH is putting essentially the same team they had on the court last year and we are playing even with them at their venue in a VERY spirited, partisan environment,” says coach MJ Engstrom. “Against UNH we had four freshman on the court at all times – instead of our usual three.”

To earn a berth into the America East Tournament, UAlbany (8-18, 8-5 AE) will need a win against UMass Lowell tomorrow at 7 p.m. or a Binghamton or Stony Brook loss on Sunday.

“Now we have to win our match against UMass Lowell to assure our place in the championship next weekend,” says Engstrom. “The ball is in our court – we control our destiny.”

With the win, UNH (17-12, 11-2 AE) will be the host and 1-seed of the America East Tournament next weekend.

Hunter hit .206 in the match with 18 kills and seven digs.  Samantha Brostrom earned her seventh double double of the year with 11 kills and 21 digs, while Mikala McCauley had her tenth with 50 assists and 11 digs.

Down 5-3 early after a 3-0 UNH run, UAlbany won three straight, capped by a Brostrom kill, to lead 6-5.  At 9-8 home team, UNH took four-in-a-row to go up 13-8, leading MJ Engstrom to call timeout.  Both sides went back and forth on points as UNH kept a lead.  Down 22-16, UAlbany took advantage of four straight Tori Forrest errors, capped by a combo block from Amanda Dolan and McCauley, to go within two 22-20.  UNH stopped the run and went up 24-21.  UAlbany defended against set point twice after two UNH attack errors, but could not stop a third as UNH got the set 25-23.

UNH got an early 7-3 advantage in the second game.  At 10-6, Hunter contributed a block and three kills in a UAlbany 5-0 run to give the Great Danes an 11-10 lead, adding to its lead later with three-in-a-row to make it 16-13.  After a few exchanged points, a Tatum Jungsten kill, McCauley dump kill, Brostrom kill and Laini Leindecker ace put UAlbany ahead 21-16.  Hunter earned the final three kills in the set for UAlbany, leading to a 25-19 set win and tied match.

After back and forth play to begin, a Hunter kill put UAlbany ahead 5-4.  UNH countered, and with help from three Forrest kills, took an 14-7 lead.  Engstrom used her second timeout at that juncture, and UAlbany responded: starting with an Olivia Schonewise kill, the Great Danes seized eight straight points, including three Brostrom kills to take a 15-14 lead.  The two sides started to joust, with a 3-0 UNH run putting the home team up 19-17.  A couple of Dolan kills put UAlbany within one twice, and later within two at 22-20, but the Wildcats got the last three points for a 25-20 set win, putting UNH up 2-1 in the match.

An early 4-0 run, including a pair of Morgan Thatcher kills, put UNH up 7-2 in the fourth set, later 8-3.  The Great Danes got three straight to pull within two at 8-6, as the two sides went to exchange a number of points up to 18-16 UNH.  A UNH service error, Lauren Spreen ace and a Wildcat setting error put UAlbany in the lead 19-18.  After a UNH kill, Schonewise earned consecutive kills, earning another after a Wildcat kill to make it 22-20 Great Danes.  UNH tied it up at 22-22, but a Jungsten kill and Demi Muses attack error made it set point.  After an Abby Brinkman kill, Hunter earned another set-sealing kill for a 25-23 victory, forcing the match to a tiebreaker.

After a UNH kill and attack error, the Wildcats won the next three to lead 4-1.  At 5-2, Jungsten got UAlbany back in the tiebreaker with two kills in a row, adding a handling error by UNH to tie the set at 5-5.  The two sides traded points, getting to 8-8.  Tolliver got two consecutive kills in a 3-0 run to put the home team up 11-8.  Dolan and Brostrom earned kills to bring UAlbany within two at 12-10, but the final three points went to UNH as the Wildcats took the win 15-10.

Dolan hit .444 in the match with 10 kills and five blocks.  Viktoriia Stroilo led the Great Danes with 29 digs.

“Striolo had another great night of defense and kept us in the match with some outstanding serving,” says Engstrom.

For UNH, Brinkman hit .333 with a team-best 18 kills.  Forrest got a double double, concluding with 12 kills and 18 digs.


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