Men’s Volleyball Edged 3-1 by Newbury in NECC Battle

yonas million bumps the ball against newbury

BENNINGTON, Vt. – In a highly-contested New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) men's volleyball match at the Mountaineer Athletic Center, visiting Newbury College slipped by Southern Vermont College for a 3-1 victory Wednesday night.

The Nighthawks barely gained the upper hand with a 25-23 win in the opening set before SVC came back to tie the match with a 25-21 win of its own in the second. NC regained the contest advantage with a 25-19 tally in the third game and then closed out the season sweep of the Mountaineers with a 25-20 triumph in the fourth.

Southern Vermont (3-19, 1-7 NECC) is back in action on Saturday with a 3 p.m. non-conference first serve at Dean College. The Nighthawks (6-10, 3-4 NECC) next host a league tri-match on Saturday at Hellenic College—facing off against Endicott College at 11 a.m. before taking on Eastern Nazarene College around 3 p.m.

SVC saw three players register season-highs in the kills column with senior Jeff James (Bowie, Md.) and freshman Te Hayward (Baltimore, Md.) tying the team-high of 14; James also had three digs and three total blocks as Hayward added three digs and two aces to his line. Junior Yonas Million (Rockville, Md.) followed with 12 kills, and he also had a match-high 20 digs for his first double-double. Freshman Bryan Bernal (Riverside, Calif.) assisted on 40 of the 49 Mountaineer kills, and he also had 11 digs and three kills in the effort.

Newbury junior Joshua Thorne (Oxford, Conn.) recorded a match-best 21 kills and provided 13 digs for his team while freshman Matt Sepe (Cranston, R.I.) tallied 13 kills and a team-high 14 digs. Senior Nile Fox (Hampton, Va.) chipped in with another 13 kills, nine digs and four aces as freshman Oscar Chavez (Independence, Ore.) chalked up 47 assists, eight digs and a match-high six service aces.

The two sides were extremely comparable in a few stat categories with Newbury gaining a 50-49 edge in kills while SVC had a 63-57 advantage in digs. NC was better on the serve with 18 aces to the Mountaineers' nine, and the Nighthawks committed just 18 attack errors as Southern Vermont notched 20.

Newbury led 10-7 in the first set before Hayward and James each landed a kill for three-straight points to tie it up. A Southern Vermont timeout couldn't stop the Nighthawks from taking the next six as Thorne put down a pair of kills while Chavez ripped across back-to-back aces. SVC would get four in-a-row later in the frame to tie it at 19-19 with Million and sophomore Marv Figaro (New York City, N.Y.) each notching a kill. Both teams recorded three straight to tie it at 23-23, but a Thorne kill was then followed by a Chavez ace to give Newbury the game.

SVC jumped on top in the second with the first five points—Bernal getting a kill and an ace during that stretch while Hayward had a kill of his own. NC stormed back with the next six as Chavez tallied another pair of back-to-back aces. The set was tight through the midpoint of the set with two Thorne kills making it a 16-13 Nighthawk lead before Southern Vermont won seven of the next eight to go ahead by three (20-17). Mountaineer freshman Chris Jimenez (Newark, N.J.), sophomore Adrian Dickerson (Bristol, Vt.), and Figaro each landed consecutive kills, and a Dickerson ace put it away to tie the night.

Newbury came back with a strong attempt to regain the match advantage—going in front 11-4 to start the third set; freshman Tyler Polite (Cambridge, Mass.) had three aces in that stretch while Thorne recorded a pair of kills. SVC would cut it down to a five-point difference with the help of a James kill, but Newbury snagged the next five on three-straight Sepe kills to push the lead into double digits. Down 21-12, the Mountaineers made a surge with five straight off a pair of kills from both Million and Figaro—only to see the Nighthawks finish off the set with a 4-2 run capped by a Sepe kill.

Polite landed a kill before he registered an ace to put Newbury on top 6-3 in the fourth, and a Thorne ace helped push it to an 11-5 upper hand for the visitors. SVC chopped its deficit in half, but another Thorne kill helped make it a 17-12 set for the Nighthawks. A 5-3 Mountaineer run included a Dickerson ace and a kill, and both James and Million each had a kill to make it a 19-17 difference. Kills from Sepe and Fox pushed it to match-point at 24-18 before Southern Vermont continued the night with the next two. That would be it for the hosts, however, as Sepe tallied one final kill for Newbury's second win over SVC this year.