BROOKLINE, Mass - Major movement in the NECC was the theme of this afternoon's tri-match and although the Endicott Gulls finished the day 2-0 to remain undefeated in the NECC, the final match of the day between the Nighthawks and Eastern Nazarene Lions would provide a new fourth-seed in the NECC.
Game One: Endicott 3 – Newbury 0
Gulls freshman Bryn Lipton (Rockford, IL) finished the match with a game-high 11 kills on 16 attempts, hitting at .625, as the Endicott College Gulls stay undefeated in the New England Collegiate Conference following their 3-0 (25-12, 25-13, 25-15) straight sets victory over the Newbury Nighthawks on Saturday morning at Pappas Gymnasium.
The .625 attack percentage is the second-best of the season for the Gulls rookie. Freshman Tim Fieseler (Bridgewater, N.J.) finished with seven kills in 11 attempts. Freshman Chad Riorden (Fairport, N.Y.) and sophomore Devin Racey (Voorheesville, N.Y.) split setting duties, finishing with 16 and 15 assists, respectively.
Nighthawks freshman Matt Sepe (Cranston, R.I.) finished with a team-high eight kills. Junior Joshua Thorne (Oxford, Conn.) added four kills for the Nighthawks. Freshman Oscar Chavez (Independence, Ore.) tallied 15 assists.
The Gulls were in front early in the opening set, committing few errors in the early portions of the first to gain a 16-10 lead. The Gulls offensive kept rolling from that point, scoring eight of ten points, including three Lipton kills. The Gulls finished the set with a Daniel Toth (Glenwood, N.J.) kill, grabbing the first set, 25-12.
In the second, the Nighthawks and Gulls would battle for position, ultimately for a Gulls lead, 15-11. Lipton stepped to the service line for the Gulls and the Nighthawks momentum stalled, as the Lipton serves netted six straight Gulls points for a 21-12 edge. Nighthawk errors would close out the set, 25-13 for Endicott.
In the third set, Lipton again displayed strong serving, putting the Gulls up 9-7. The Nighthawks stayed within two for much of the set, but again the Gulls stepped on the gas, winning five straight points on two separate occasions on the way to their 25-15 third set win.
Game Two: Endicott 3 - Eastern Nazarene 0
Gulls senior Ryan Sutherland (Fairport, N.Y.) lead Endicott with a season-high nine kills on 13 attempts, hitting .615 on the day, lifting the Gulls to another 3-0 (25-12, 25-9, 25-13) victory in conference play, remaining undefeated in the NECC on Saturday afternoon at Pappas Gymnasium.
Sutherland accomplished the feat in two set, seeing time in the second and third for the Gulls. Sophomore Jeremy Doski (Sandy Hook, Conn.) and Lipton each finished with seven kills. Lipton continued his efficient day, hitting at .667 in the second match. Riorden finished with a game-high four aces.
Lions junior Kenny Sorensen (Quincy, Mass.) finished with a team-best six kills. Senior Colin Fischer (Lansdale, Penn.) and sophomore James Garofolo (Commack, N.Y.) both added two kills each. Junior Matthew Tyree (Lansdale, Penn.) finished with 12 assists.
It was all Gulls in the opening set, quickly putting together scoring runs that put them ahead substantially, 21-8 at one point. A Seth Braquet (Destrehan, La.) kill finished the set 25-12. The Gulls hit .429 in the set, including 14 kills.
The Gulls again put up large scoring runs to start the second, a 16-3 run at one point to start the second. Lipton finished the set with a service ace, giving the Gulls a 25-9 set win. Endicott hit a match-best .579 in the set, which included 14 kills, three errors, on 19 attempts.
In the final set, the Gulls continued to show why they are the only undefeated team remaining in the NECC, as their deep bench brought home the match for Endicott. Non-starters for the Gulls accounted for 15 of the teams' 41 total kills, many of them in the final set, which favored Endicott 25-13.
Game Three: Eastern Nazarene 3 - Newbury 2
Sorensen of the Eastern Nazarene Lions finished the match with 18 kills, tying a season-high, leading the Eastern Nazarene Lions to a comeback, five-set victory, 3-2 (25-21, 15-25, 23-25, 25-21, 15-13) over the Newbury Nighthawks on Saturday afternoon at Pappas Gymnasium. The win gives the Lions a 1/2 game lead for the final playoff spot over the Nighthawks.
Sorensen also matched a season-high with 19 digs, totaling his fifth double-double of the season. Fischer added nine kills for the Lions, hitting .364 for the match. Tyree put up 34 assists and eight aces for the Lions.
For the Nighthawks, Thorne finished with 17 kills, hitting .234 from the floor. Sepe added 12 kills and 14 digs for the Nighthawks, while Chavez added 41 assists. Sophomore Cesar Cruz (Brockton, Mass.) finished with a career-high 15 digs.
Four sets weren't enough to separate the two sides, resulting in the second time this season that Newbury and Eastern Nazarene needed five sets to determine a winner. Eastern Nazarene won the season opener, 3-2, on January 26.
The Lions fifth set started with a critical 6-1 run, including two kills for Sorensen and an ace for Fischer. Only Thorne broke through for the Nighthawks in the first seven points of the tiebreaking set.
The sides traded points momentarily with the Lions finding a 9-5 lead.
Nighthawks freshman Tyler Polite (Cambridge, Mass.) provided a spark for the Nighthawks in the tiebreaker, recording three kills over the next four point, lifting the Nighthawks back to even at 9-9.
Four points each way advanced the set to 13-13. Garofolo recorded a kill on the next point, and on match point, Garofolo stepped to the service line and a miscommunication by the Nighthawks would result in the final error, giving the Lions the 15-13 fifth set victory.
The Nighthawks fall to 6-12 (3-6 NECC) with the pair of losses. The Nighthawks season resumes on Tuesday night at Regis College in another important NECC contest. The match is set for 7:00 p.m.
The Lions split day moves them to 9-8 (4-6 NECC). The Lions go out of conference for their next contest, traveling to Pine Manor College on Tuesday evening at 7:00 p.m.
The Gulls sweep moves them to 16-9 (9-0 NECC). The Gulls have only dropped two set in conference play this season. The Gulls take a week off before another pair of NECC matches next Saturday, hosting a tri-match vs. Lesley and Southern Vermont with matches starting at 11:00 a.m.