BEVERLY, Mass. - Gulls senior Daniel Toth (Glenwood, N.J.) finished with a match-high 10 kills on 14 attempts for a hitting percentage of .643, helping the Endicott Gulls secure a spot in the New England Collegiate Conference Championship by virtue of a 3-0 victory over the Newbury Nighthawks on Thursday evening at MacDonald Gymnasium.
Gulls freshman Bryn Lipton (Rockford, Ill.) finished one kill behind Toth with nine, while freshman Donovan Dey (Fairport, N.Y.) finished with eight kills, four block assists, and two aces.
Nighthawks junior Joshua Thorne (Oxford, Conn.) finished with a team-high six kills. Freshmen Matt Sepe (Cranston, R.I.) and Tyler Polite (Hyde Park, Mass.) added four kills and three kills, respectively. Polite added a team-best three total blocks.
In the opening set, the Nighthawks hung in with the top-seeded Gulls as the sides battled to a 9-8 Endicott lead. The Gulls seized control with eight straight points for a 17-8 edge. A six-point spurt later in the set would put the Gulls in position for a first set win at 24-11. A kill by Lipton finished off the set, 25-11 Gulls.
In the second, both sides again jostled for position to a 6-6 tie until a 12-2 run gave the Gulls an 18-8 edge. It was the Nighthawks turn for a scoring run to get back in the set. With separate runs of 5-1 and 5-0, the Nighthawks cut the Gulls lead to four at 23-19. The Gulls held off the Nighthawks runs and a kill and service error gave the Gulls a 25-20 second set win.
As with the other two sets, the sides war of attrition early in the third set continued as the Nighthawks found themselves in front 6-5. However, the Gulls found another scoring run of 6-0 to overtake the lead at 11-6. The sides traded small runs through the middle of the set with the Nighthawks getting within three, 18-15. But from there, three straight points for the Gulls handed them control, 21-15. Gulls junior Amar Patel (Keene, N.H.) finished things off with a kill and a 25-18 set victory.
The Nighthawks season comes to an end with them finishing at 10-16 while the Gulls season pushes forward to the NECC Championship on Saturday afternoon against the No. 3 seed Elms College Blazers.
The 10-win season is the most for the Nighthawks since 2011.