BENNINGTON, Vt. - Nighthawks junior Joshua Thorne (Oxford, Conn.) finished with a career-high 21 kills to go along with 13 digs, helping the Nighthawks to a 3-1 (25-23, 21-25, 25-19, 25-20) victory over the Southern Vermont Mountaineers on Wednesday evening at The Mountaineer Athletic Center in New England Collegiate Conference action.
Thorne was not the only Nighthawk providing career-highs for his squad. Senior Nile Fox (Hampton, Va.) and freshman Matt Sepe (Cranston, R.I.) both finished with a career-high 13 kills. Sepe also added a career-high 14 digs for his first career double-double. Freshman Oscar Chavez (Independence, Ore.) shattered his career-high in assists, tallying 47 for the Nighthawks. Chavez also added a career-high six aces.
Mountaineers senior Jeff James (Bowie, Md.) and freshman Te Hayward (Baltimore, Md.) both finished with 14 kills. Junior Jonas Million (Rockville, Md.) added 12 kills and a game-high 20 digs. Freshman Bryan Bernal (Riverside, Calif.) added 40 assists and 11 digs.
The Nighthawks looked to have control of the first set, holding a lead of up to six thanks to a run of serves by Chavez that included three aces. However, the Mountaineers fought back by winning six of 10 points to tie the set at 20-20. Three straight points for the Nighthawks, followed by three straight for the Mountaineers would again tie the set, 23-23. A Thorne kill, followed by a Chavez ace gave the Nighthawks the final two points for a 25-23 set win.
The Nighthawks were in a similar position in the second set, coming off a point streak that gave them a three point lead. The Mountaineers seized all control, going on a 10-2 run, including two kills for James and one ace for Hayward and Bernal, each, to lead 23-18. A Nighthawks error and Mountaineers service ace for sophomore Adrian Dickerson (Bristol, Vt.) closed out the second set for the Mountaineers, 25-21.
The third set was all Nighthawks through the majority of the set as they held a 10-point advantage at one point, 20-10. Seven of the next eight points went to the Mountaineers, who crawled back to within four, 21-17. Kills by Thorne and Sepe, as well as Mountaineer errors would give the Nighthawks the 25-19 third set win.
In the fourth, the Nighthawks again controlled much of the play, extending the lead to five, 17-12. The Mountaineers would again show resiliency, winning five of seven points to cut the deficit to 19-17. The Nighthawks regained control with three straight points and a Sepe kill finished the set off 25-20. Sepe and Thorne finished with four kills each in the fourth set.
The Nighthawks improve to 6-10 (3-4 NECC) and have now won a season-high three straight games. A critical stretch of games comes up next for the Nighthawks who welcome Endicott College and Eastern Nazarene on Saturday for a tri-match on Saturday. The matches are set to begin at 11:00 a.m.; the Nighthawks currently hold a 1/2 game lead for fourth in the NECC over Eastern Nazarene.