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Volleyball Pushes New Hampshire to Five Sets, But Falls on the Road
Sherelle Walker returned with 21 kils vs. UNH
DURHAM, N.H. – The UMBC volleyball team came back from down two sets to none to force a deciding fifth set, but could not pull off the comeback, falling to New Hampshire 3-2 (25-16, 25-21, 16-25, 11-25, 15-13), Sunday afternoon at Lundholm Gymnasium. Both contests this season went to five sets as UNH won 3-2 in Baltimore earlier this season.
The loss drops the Retrievers to 12-14 overall and 5-4 in America East play while the Wildcats improve to 14-11 and 6-3 this season.
Freshman Sherelle Walker (New Freedom, Pa./Susquehannock) returned for her first action since Oct. 5 to lead UMBC with a team-best 21 kills while Krystal Mlemchukwu (Baltimore, Md./Western Tech) added 11 winners. Senior Ali Loynachan (Whitby, Ontario/Sinclair) picked up a team season-best 28 digs while junior Ali Goc (Oshawa, Ontario/R.S. McLaughlin) and sophomore Hannah Schmidt (Catonsville, Md./Mount de Sales) were also in double figures.
Morgan Thatcher paced the Wildcat offense with a match-high 22 put-aways and Tori Forrest compiled 14 kills. UNH had four players with double-digit digs, led by Jessie Schnepp who scooped up 21.
The hosts got out of the gate quickly, winning the first three points of the match and never looked back. The Retrievers won the next two to get within one, 3-2, but could never tie the set. UNH opened up a ten-point advantage 18-8 after winning six straight points and held off UMBC’s rally to take the opening frame, 25-16.
The second set was a much more of an even contest as the two squads traded the lead eight times and were tied on 13 occasions. The tight play started right away as UMBC’s three-point leads at 5-2 and 6-3 were the largest leads of the set. After the visitors took the lead 21-20 on a kill by Walker, the Wildcats ran off five straight points to take a two-set lead with a 25-21 win.
Coming out of the break, the teams once again played competitive volleyball, but after UNH tied the set at 4-4, the Retrievers slowly built a lead they would not give up. Leading 7-6, UMBC won five of the next six points to take a healthy lead, 12-7, one just big enough to withstand four straight Wildcat points. UNH never won back-to-back points again in the set as the Retrievers pulled away to force another set with a 25-16 set win.
UMBC used that late momentum to begin the fourth set on a roll and won six of the first seven points. New Hampshire could only cut the lead to three at 8-5 as UMBC responded with runs of 6-0 and 5-0 to pull away and force a decisive fifth for the second time this season against UNH by claiming the fourth, 25-11.
The final set was reminiscent of the second as neither team could build an early lead of more than one point. UMBC took its final lead of the set, 7-6, on a kill by junior Mallory McIntyre (Winnipeg, Manitoba/St. Mary’s Academy) as UNH streaked to four straight points and never relinquished control. The Retrieved edged back and trailed by just one, 11-10 and again at 13-12, but two points later Abby Brinkman clinched the win for the Wildcats.
UMBC now returns home for a critical home stand, taking on Albany and Hartford next weekend at the RAC Arena. The Retrievers and Great Danes are scheduled to begin play at 6 p.m. while Senior Day activities will precede UMBC’s 2 p.m. contest with the Hawks on Sunday.
- UMBC is now 9-11 all-time versus New Hampshire after dropping both meetings in five sets this season.
- New Hampshire’s season sweep is the first in the series between the two teams since the Retrievers won both meetings in 2008.
- UMBC and UNH last went to five sets in both meetings in a single year in 2010.