Nighthawks Fall in Highly-Contested, Straight Sets Match vs. Emerson

Photo Credit: Dylan Foran
Photo Credit: Dylan Foran

BROOKLINE, Mass. - Lions senior Mark Piorkowski (Montclair, N.J.) finished the night with a game-high 15 kills while hitting .200 from the floor, leading the Emerson Lions to a 3-0 (25-23, 25-20, 25-19) win over the Newbury Nighthawks on Tuesday night at Pappas Gymnasium.

Piorkowski also added a match-high four aces. Sophomore Samuel Willinger (Golden Beach, Fla.) finished with 10 kills, hitting an impressive .444 from the floor. Senior Win Kittivatcharapong (Bangkok, Thailand) finished with nine kills. Freshman Jonah Higaonna (Okinawa, Japan) added three aces, all in the second set.

Nighthawks sophomore Rory Dobbins (Warwick, R.I.) finished with a team-high 13 kills while hitting a blazing .429 from the floor. Freshman Pedro Juan De Jesus (East Hartford, Conn.) added four kills and six digs. Sophomore Jeremias Soto (Lawrence, Mass.) completed a double-double with 13 assists and 10 digs.

The opening set was all about the scoring runs as momentum swayed in both directions with each scoring outburst. The first of which began with Emerson scoring five straight to lead 16-12 in the middle of the set. Later in the set and with the Lions still up four, it was the Nighthawks turn for a scoring run, this one of 6-0 to lead 21-19. The Lions would return the run with the help of Piorkowski and Kittivatcharapong scoring four straight to give Emerson a 23-21 lead. Newbury defended set points but Kittivatcharapong would ultimately give the Lions the 25-23 set win.

In the second, Emerson looked as if they would run away with the set, scoring the first eight points, including Higaonna's three aces, to lead 8-0. The Nighthawks scored nine of the next 12 points to pull within two, 11-9. But two was as close as the Nighthawks could ever get in the second as Emerson used 16 team kills and a .222 hitting percentage to win the second, 25-20.

In the third, Emerson again grabbed momentum with winning the first three points of the final set. Minimal scoring runs in this set as the team's jostled for position for nearly the entire third. The Nighthawks managed to pull within one, but the Lions use of winning four out of five points late in the third would make a big difference in their 25-19 set win. Again, Emerson finished with 16 team kills while hitting .424 to end the third. 

The win moves the Lions to 3-1 this season while Nighthawks are in search of their first victory and sit at 0-6.

Next for the Nighthawks is a Sunday tri-match against Northern Vermont at Johnson State and Southern Vermont College, hosted by NVJS beginning at 11:00 a.m. The Lions play on with a Thursday night battle as they host the Eastern Nazarene Lions.