Courtesy: America East Communications

UNH Volleyball Hangs Tough vs. No. 1 Nebraska in 3-0 loss Wildcats ousted in NCAA 1st round

Release: 12/03/2016
LINCOLN, Neb.  – Gabri Olhava (Mount Prospect, Ill.) recorded a team-high 11 kills and Demi Muses(Orangevale, Calif.) finished with eight kills and a team-high 10 digs as the University of New Hampshire volleyball team made a valiant effort but was defeated 3-0 by No. 1 University of Nebraska in Friday night's NCAA first round game at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
The set scores were 25-9, 25-23, 25-18. UNH's 50 total points and .175 hitting percentage were both highest for an America East conference team in an NCAA tournament match since 2007.
Olhava ripped a .320 hitting percentage and Muses hit at a .208 clip for the Wildcats, who were competing in the NCAA tournament for the fourth consecutive year as the America East tournament champion.
UNH, which entered the match with a season-long 10-match, ends the season at 21-11. Nebraska, the defending national champions, improved to 28-2.

New Hampshire Team Stats
32 kills / 14 errors / .175 hitting percentage
32 assists
1 services aces / 6 service errors
39 digs
2 blocks (all assisted)

Nebraska Team Stats
50 kills / 13 errors / .352 hitting percentage
48 assists
4 service aces / 4 service errors
51 digs
6 blocks (including one solo)
UNH Individual Leaders
Gabri Olhava: 11 kills, .320 hit%
Demi Muses: eight kills, 10 digs, .208 hit%
Keelin Severtson (Delray Beach, Fla.): 32 assists, six digs
Sara Carlson (Hutchinson, Minn.): eight digs
Emily Tanski (Plymouth, Mich.): six kills, five digs, one service ace

Nebraska Individual Leaders
Mikaela Foecke: 13 kills, .407 hitting percentage
Kadie Rolfzen: 12 kills, .360 hit%, eight digs, two blocks
Kelly Hunter: 40 assists

  • Nebraska led 3-2 and won six consecutive points to prompt UNH to call timeout.
  • The Cornhuskers also went on an 8-0 run to extend the advantage to 19-4.
    • New Hampshire recorded 13 kills and committed just two hitting errors for an impressive .333 hitting percentage.
    • There were 17 ties and five lead changes in the second set.
    • Two kills by Olhava and another by Muses gave the 'Cats an early 5-3 lead.
    • Nebraska took an 8-7 lead, but two more Olhava kills helped UNH surge back in front 10-9.
    • The 'Cats trailed15-14 when Olhava hit yet another ball through a pair of middle blockers to ignite a 3-0 run that gave the visitors a 17-15 lead.
    • Nebraska tied the score and eventually took a 20-19 lead, at which point UNH called its first timeout of the second set.
    • Muses' kill out of the break leveled the score. The Cornhuskers went back in front by two points, but the 'Cats answered with consecutive points – one on a kill by Muses – to force the 17th tie of the set.
    • Nebraska inched back in front, 24-22, to force New Hampshire to call its second timeout.
    • The 'Cats fought off one set point, but then the home team won the next point to take the set, 25-23, as well as a 2-0 lead in the match
    SET 3
    • UNH held Nebraska to a .235 hitting percentage in the third set.
    • Once again, two kills from Olhava in the middle helped the Wildcats take a 5-4 lead.
    • The Cornhuskers led 6-5 when a Nebraska attack that sailed long was ruled touched by a UNH player, and point to the home team.
    • UNH closed within a single point, 10-9, on back-to-back kills by Severtson and Olhava, but Nebraska won the next three points to build a four-point cushion.
    • The Wildcats responded with a 3-1 spurt – kills by Tanski and Hannah Petke (Rancho Sanoa Margarita, Calif.) and an assisted block by Petke and Olhava – to close within 13-12.
    • The Cornhuskers won four consecutive points to take an 18-12 lead, but a kill by Kennedi Smith (The Woodlands, Texas) and another by Severtson helped lift the 'Cats within 18-15.
    • Nebraska won 3of 4 points to extend the advantage to 21-16.
    • UNH called time out and Tanski recorded another kill out of the break, and one point later it was Olhava's kill that made it 22-18.
    • The Cornhuskers won the next three points, however, to close out the set and match.
    • This was UNH's first loss since Oct.16. The Wildcats had not been swept since Sept. 6.
    • The end of the 2016 season also marked the end of UNH volleyball careers for three seniors – Muses, Severtson and Carlson.
    • Severtson, a two-time America East Setter of the Year, ended the season with 1,230 assists, which is No. 4 on the program's list of single-season superlatives. She surpassed current associate head coach Stacy Barnett, who tallied 1,223 assists in 1998.
    • Severtson finishes her career with 2,449 assists, which is also No.4 on that list.
    • Muses, a two-time America East Player of the Year, ends her career with 959 kills, which is just outside the Top 10 list. No. 10 is Lauren Laquerre (2008-11) with 963.
    For the most up-to-date information on the volleyball team, visit For additional information on the UNH volleyball team, like the squad on Facebook or follow the 'Cats on TwitterInstagram and Snapchat @UNHVOLLEYBALL.

    UNH head coach Jill Hirschinger
    On playing in front of 8,014 fans at the Devaney Center
    I just thought it was cool. I soaked it all in. We got out there early enough that I didn't even notice it after a while. It was like "Let's play." It didn't matter what was behind us, we just wanted to look at what was in front of us on the court.
    On what was said to rally the team between Set 1 and Set 2
    I know we had dreams being here. I just asked them "Is this the way we play? What do we need to do?" That got them talking to each other, and I just thought they came back to a team again, rather than being intimidated.
    Gabri Olhava, sophomore middle blocker
    On the experience of playing in the Devaney Center
    It was definitely a very humbling experience being able to play in this big arena. It's a lot bigger than Lundholm Gym. It was definitely something I'll never forget. It was a very cool experience.
    Demi Muses, senior captain, middle blocker
    On playing in front of a huge crowd
    We had nerves coming in, jitters. It was a large crowd, but once we settled in and they showed us what they had, the second game it was kind of like let's take care of what's on our side of the court and work for each other. We think we can do this and we're in this.
    On UNH's game plan
    They're going to get their big kills, and that's something you just have to look past. It's like "Okay, respect your opponent. Great swing, you're huge." So just kind of saying "that's a good swing" and move on to the next point and work on that serve receive pass, and hopefully we can run our middles – run Gabri, run myself, run out outsides with tempo and again, try to tool their block. That was something coming in with their size. They're big, so we can use them. They have a lot of arms to use.
    On UNH's resiliency
    We didn't just roll over and die in front of a big crowd and the big girls in front of us. We hung in there and we held our own and worked hard together. Ultimately, the score showed that. We worked out butts off as hard as we could until the end.
    On playing at UNH
    It's been a very remarkable run, and I'm very blessed to have committed to UNH and be the America East champions four years in a row. I owe a lot to my coaches and I owe a lot to my setter (Keelin Severtson). She works her butt off. It's been a blessing and I'm very thankful for the opportunities that we have gotten to play against teams like USC, Washington, Florida and now Nebraska. It's a pretty remarkable experience.