ALBANY, N.Y. -- Sara Pope set a new career-high with 24 kills, while Traci Vandegrift finished with a double-double of 14 kills and 19 digs to lead UAlbany to a 3-1 win over New Hampshire (12-9, AE 4-1) in America East Conference volleyball action on Friday evening at University Gymnasium. With the win, the Great Danes improve to 8-11 overall, and are the only undefeated team left in league play with a 5-0 record.
UAlbany fell to New Hampshire, 25-16, in the first set, but then posted scores of 25-20, 25-22, and 25-20 to earn the four-set victory.
The Wildcats used six kills apiece from Victoria Forrest and Morgan Thatcher to seal up the first set win. Jansan Falcusan handed out 14 assists, pacing New Hampshire to a .351 hitting percentage as a team. Gabby Whitworth recorded three kills on .750 hitting for the Great Danes, but UAlbany hit just .179 as a team, as New Hampshire got four total team blocks.
The Great Danes responded in the second set, as Pope came out swinging hard. The sophomore hit .636 in the set to lead UAlbany with seven kills, while Vandegrift recorded four kills and came up with six digs. Thatcher led New Hampshire with five kills, while Sam Henke and Jessie Schnepp recorded 11 and eight digs, respectively.
UAlbany came out firing once again in the third, as Pope finished eight of the Great Danes' 14 kills in the set. UAlbany got back on the blocks as well, getting four total, led by three assists each by Vandegrift and Alberte Bjornsson. Forrest led New Hampshire with five kills, but the Wildcats had just one total block, giving the Great Danes control at the net.
The duo of Pope and Vandegrift kept rolling for UAlbany in the final set, as the two each recorded six kills. Pope showed why she was named the America East Player of the Week, as she hit .556 in the set, thanks in part to strong setting by Whitworth, who handed out 17 assists. New Hampshire tried to find a rotation that would pull them back into the match, using several different players, including Abigail Brinkman, who led the Wildcats with three kills. However, strong defensive play by the Great Danes held out, and UAlbany sealed up the victory.
Pope finished with a .467 hitting percentage in the match to lead all players. Whitworth, the reigning Setter of the Week in the conference, handed out 47 assists and also recorded 14 kills and nine digs. Viktoriia Stroilo recorded 29 digs, while Kathleen Horvath also played well in the back row, coming up with 12 digs.
UAlbany will return to action on Sunday, visiting Providence in America East Conference action, starting at 2 p.m.