HUNTINGDON, Pa. – The Endicott men's volleyball team saw their 2014 season come to a close on Friday afternoon in the NCAA Division III Tournament Quarterfinals as the Gulls lost in straight sets (25-9, 25-10, 25-21) to top-ranked Springfield College, the two-time defending NCAA champions.
Endicott (19-13) end their historic run with their first appearance past the First Round and into the Quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Tournament in just their second trip to the national tournament. The Gulls reached the second round of the tournament courtesy of a 3-0 sweep over #6 MIT at home last Saturday afternoon in the program's first win over a nationally-ranked opponent this season.
Facing off against the nation's #1-ranked program and the AVCA National Player of the Year, as well as three other AVCA All-Americans, Endicott struggled to get their offense going in Friday's quarterfinal match as the team hit .027 while going up against a Springfield block that produced six stuffs at the net. The Gulls saw senior right side Josh Anderson (La Canada, Calif.) lead the way with five kills while senior middle Travis Netherton (Waukegan, Ill.) and sophomores Chandler Tayek (Rolling Hills Estates, Calif.) and John Osborne (Freehold, N.J.) each contributed with four kills apiece. Tayek produced the best hitting percentage of the bunch as he struck his four kills at a .286 clip.
Netherton, Anderson, and senior middle Mike Coniglione (Glenville, N.Y.) did their best to slow down Springfield's high-powered offense that hit .394 as a team as the trio combined for two solo blocks and seven block assists. Netherton had both solo blocks and two assisted blocks to go along with two digs in the loss. Anderson added three digs and Coniglione dropped two kills.
Gulls sophomore setter Tyler Bacon (Cypress, Calif.) dished out 14 assists in the loss while contributing defensively with four digs. Bacon distributed assists out to six different Endicott attackers.
Springfield was led by sophomore outside Luis Vega (Corozal, Puerto Rico) who was nearly unstoppable with 14 kills on 20 swings with just three errors for a .550 hitting percentage. Vega also factored in defensively with a match-high 12 digs. AVCA Player of the Year Jimmy O'Leary (Reading, Pa.) and freshman Sean Zuvich (San Pedro, Calif.) each had six kills. O'Leary led the Pride with five block assists.
Springfield setter Keaton Pieper (Dallas Texas) distributed 27 assists in the win as the Pride move on the NCAA Division III Semifinals where they will face the winner of #4 Rivier vs #5 Carthage. Springfield is playing for their third consecutive NCAA Championship.
Endicott captured their second straight NECC Championship and automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament by beating Daniel Webster 3-1 back on April 12th. With a 19-13 overall record in 2014, second-year head coach George Chapell has a .657 winning percentage as he is 44-23 through two seasons. The Endicott men's volleyball program has only one regular season NECC loss against them in 24 chances with Chapell at the helm.
The Gulls will graduate a standout senior class that in this season alone accumulated several postseason honors including NECC Defensive Player of the Year, defensive specialist Aaron Jessee, First Team middles Travis Netherton and Mike Coniglione, and Honorable Mention right side Josh Anderson.