After a run that included 3 top 10 finishes in 5 years, the UNH Men's Volleyball team got over the hump Saturday, winning the NCVF Division 1AA National Championship in Houston. Gelling last April in Dallas where the team went 5-1 and fell to perennial power UCLA in the round of 16, UNH put it all together this weekend to put the finishing touches on a dream season. After winning the club's first Marty Open championship in January, the Wildcats put together a regular season in which they defeated nationally ranked BC, took home the regular season championship at 10-2, and garnered a national ranking of their own.
A runner-up finish at NECVL championships followed, and then things really took off. All Conference selections Jeff Aucoin and Jake Jaffe led the Cats into Houston with a reputation as being the closest team in the country. Aucoin paced the team on Day 1 with decisive victories over Illinois-Chicago, Loyola Marymount, and UPenn to clinch a spot in the championship flight. The dominance did not stop there, as a team effort proved far too much for West Virginia and Ball State, securing the top seed on the final day in the Gold Bracket. In the quarters, Chico State just three years removed from a National Title of their own, were over matched setting up a final four game with Stanford. The Cardinal proved the toughest matchup of the weekend for the Wildcats, taking the second set of the match, the first that UNH gave up all tournament to create a do or die third set tiebreak.
Even through the first ten points, Aucoin and Pat Costa took over as UNH earned a spot in the title game with a 15-10 victory. This day proved to be a historic one for the NECVL, as conference foe Rhode Island would be the opponent in the title game after victories over UVA and DePaul. This marked the second time in conference history that an all-New England championship game took place (the first also involved the Rams, who lost to Columbia earlier in the decade). A tired URI club battled through a tough first set which UNH took convincingly. The second set was a different story, and tied at 25 the game went down to the wire. The balanced offense and pesky defense, the mantra for UNH all season long, proved to be too much, as Sean Paradiso threw down a kill to clinch the second national championship in club history 29-27.
The National Championship is the third for the NECVL. This is worth noting because Head Coach Dave Carson has been the coach for two of the three, a credit to his ability to work in different eras with different rules and different players 16 years apart.
Seniors Nate Brouwer and Pat Costa earned 2nd team all Tournament, while senior setter Adam McLamb and senior libero Jake Jaffe took spots on the first team. Jeff Aucoin, in his final year with the Wildcats, capped off the greatest career in the history of UNH Volleyball winning the MVP of the tournament. Aucoin made All-Nationals twice, All-Conference four times, Marty Open MVP this season, and of course the greatest prize in club volleyball: National Champion.
They leaned on each other for their entire careers, and this 7 man senior class' big dreams paid off. Congratulations to the 2011 National Champions!
The UNH Men's Volleyball team closed out the season on a high note in the NECVL Interdivisional tournament. With an undefeated record in pool play, UNH clinched the #5 seed at the upcoming conference championship. The icing on the cake came with a semi-final victory over Brown in dominating fashion; 25-16, 25-18. After a long day UNH lost to regular season champion #17 Boston College in two sets. Jeff Aucoin led the Wildcats on offense while Nate Brouwer, Ryan Jaime, and Jake Jaffe anchored the Wildcat defense.
Freshman Jeff Sowa also made contributions with his ever improving net play and fellow freshman Dylan Manz recorded his first career kill. The club will miss the locker room presence of DS Michael Buck, who will return to his homeland of Germany for the remainder of the semester. His great attitude and effort has been greatly appreciated.
Senior co-captains Chris Batzinger and Jaime will conclude their home careers March 28 at the NECVL Championships which UNH has the privelage of hosting for the second time in four years. GO CATS
The UNH Volleyball team finished 11th overall (4th in NECVL) at the 4th annual BU Winter Invitational. With wins over Brandeis and Mt. Ida (D3), splits with Yale and Boston College, and two close defeats at the hand of D3 powerhouse Emmanuel (30-27) and the Boston based United Nations Volleyball Club, the Wildcats made it to the semi-finals of the silver bracket. Stats will be available soon. A full article can be found in the UNH Campus Rec newsletter "Catch the Spirit" and last Wednesday's issue of Foster's Daily Democrat.
The University of New Hampshire Men's Club Volleyball team hosted a pre-season invitational on November 21, 2009 at Hamel Rec Center. Teams from all
over New England competed; including the top club teams in New England
The Northeastern Huskies finished best out of the club teams, reaching the finals before falling to Dan Ancheta's Boston based club team. UNH A finished 0-2-2 while UNH B finished 0-4.
The Wildcats return 6 starters from a highly successful 2008-09 campaign which consisted of UNH winning over 20 matches. The team finished the season at NIRSA Nationals, beating conference rival Northeastern, Georgia, Kentucky, and Stevens Tech. Leading the way this season will be 3rd year captain, setter Chris Batzinger (SR) along with first time captains Ryan Jaime (SR) and Jeff Aucoin (JR). Batzinger has led the team in assists for the past 2 seasons, while Aucoin has been the go to offensive weapon both of his first two seasons with the Wildcats. Both players were named All-Tournament HM at 2008 NIRSA Nationals. Jaime had a breakthrough year as the starting Libero, and second year coach Dave Carson will look to him as the leader of the defense once again. Also returning are juniors Nate Brouwer and Pat Costa. Brouwer is coming off his best season, consistently shutting down the opposing middle hitter. The 6'6'' middle blocker was an all conference performer for the first time as just a sophomore. Costa made the most of his opportunity at the end of last season as a consistent worker at the outside hitter position and will be a key player once again with the departure of Dan Willis to graduation. Last but not least, sophomore Sean Paradiso is back as one of the most improved Wildcat attackers. His versatility and smart hitting will be huge this season.
Several new players have arrived on the scene early in the season for the Wildcats. Sophomore transfer Tyler Bascom (Plymouth St.) brings experience and athletic ability to the team after leading PSU for two years. Senior Jake Jaffe will be in his first season with the club after a 3 year hiattis from the sport. Jaffe is an experienced and accomplished defensive specialist from California where he played three years as a high school and club player. Sean Stewart is a freshman straight off four consecutive New Hampshire state championships with Salem HS.
Several other players will contribute to the team this season and the roster will be announced and posted this weekend.
All New England Collegiate Volleyball Conference 2nd Team
Matt Teeden- Senior Outside Hitter
Jeff Aucoin- Freshman Middle Blocker
All National Tournament 1-AA Honorable Mention
Jeff Aucoin- Freshman Middle Blocker
Chris Batzinger- Sophomore Setter
Nate Brouwer- Freshman Middle Blocker
NATIONALS- 9th Place 1-AA
Seniors Matt Teeden, Ben Spector and Shaun Kellogg played their best all year and went out with their second 9th place finish at Nationals in their careers. Fellow senior Josh Green made an impression at his first National Tournament as well.
Opening Day Pool- 2nd Place
Challenge Match W 2-0 vs. #13 U. of Iowa
L vs. National Runner-Up Loyola 0-2
W vs. #2 Florida 2-0
Challenge Match W 25-23 vs. #2 Florida
National Gold Bracket Quarterfinals vs. Illinois State L 0-2