BEVERLY, Mass. – Three weeks after suffering their first NECC regular season loss in a road match to Southern Vermont in five sets, the Endicott men's volleyball team rebounded to beat the Mountaineers on their home court 3-1 (25-16, 26-24, 19-25, 25-10) behind a career-high 15 kills from the reigning conference player of the week Brennan Lowe (Malibu, Calif.).
Endicott (14-8, 9-1 NECC) has won five straight NECC matches after their loss to SVC back on March 4th due partly to Lowe's 3.23 kills per set average and .574 hitting percentage. Lowe eclipsed his previous career-best of 12 kills with a 15-1-25 (.560) line that led all players on the court.
Gulls sophomore setter Tyler Bacon (Cypress, Calif.) utilized Lowe frequently, but also benefited from strong games from senior middle Travis Netherton (Waukegan, Ill.) and senior right side Josh Anderson (La Canada, Calif.). Netherton struck 11 kills on 21 swings with a .381 hitting percentage while Anderson added 10 kills at a .429 clip with just one error. With an extra 10 kills from sophomore outside John Osborne (Freehold, N.J.) and another seven from senior Mike Coniglione (Glenville, N.Y.), Bacon was able to accumulate 46 assists (11.5 per set) which ties his season-high.
Defensively, Bacon was a majority contributor with a match-high 15 digs while Anderson, Osborne, and senior libero Aaron Jessee (Okinawa, Japan) all reached double figures with 14, 12, and 11 digs, respectively. On the block, Netherton and Coniglione continued to lead the team with a combined seven blocks. Two of Netherton's blocks were solo stuffs while Coniglione and Anderson also tallied a solo block.
Mountaineers junior outside Scott Fitzgerald (Fort Edward, N.Y.) finished with a solid overall performance, leading the team with a .296 hitting percentage with 11 kills while equaling Bacon for a match-high 15 digs. He also recorded a solo block and served up an ace. Senior Anthony Barahona (Eagle Rock, Calif.) tied Fitzgerald with 11 kills but did so at just a .103 clip. Joey Dighton (Riverside, Calif.) and Keven Walley (Pico Rivera, Calif.) each chipped in with eight kills with Walley adding a defensive presence with 11 digs.
Southern Vermont senior setter Anthony Ayala (Pico Rivera, Calif.) dished out 34 assists and junior libero Florentino Escovedo (Fresno, Calif.) factored in with nine digs in the loss.
With a 9-1 record in conference play, Endicott has set themselves up with the opportunity to clinch the top seed in the upcoming NECC Tournament with a win over Daniel Webster on Saturday, March 29th at 1:00 pm. The Eagles, at 10-12 (7-2 NECC), and Gulls have faced off twice already this season with Endicott winning the previous two matches. Their most recent meeting at the Endicott Invitational ended in a 3-2 decision.
Southern Vermont will look to get back in the win column on Sunday, March 30th at home against Regis (Mass.). This conference showdown begins at 5:00 pm.