BENNINGTON, Vt. – In a tightly-contested New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) men's volleyball match, visiting Newbury College came back from being down two sets to grab the 3-2 win over Southern Vermont College Friday evening at the Mountaineer Athletic Center.
The Nighthawks took the contest with game scores of 21-25, 24-26, 25-21, 25-17, and 15-10.
Neither team was able to get its offense to full efficiency as the Mountaineers recorded a .116 hitting percentage on 26 attack errors while NC hit only .149 on the match with 29 hitting errors.
Newbury sophomore Chi Yin Li (Framingham, Mass.) led all players with 23 kills while also racking up 18 digs and four assists. Southern Vermont was led by sophomore middle Joey Dighton (Riverside, Calif.) who landed 16 kills to go along with two block assists and a solo stop.
The Mountaineers took an early marginal lead in the opening set and went up 9-7 after a dump from sophomore setter Herson Canta (Los Angeles, Calif.). A powerful kill by SVC freshman middle Caleb Odom (Redlands, Calif.) put the hosts ahead 16-13. Newbury stayed tough and didn't allow Southern Vermont to increase its lead by more than three until a big kill by Mountaineer freshman Alonzo Wright (Chula Vista, Calif.) put SVC ahead 23-19 before finally taking the set 25-21.
Southern Vermont had work to do from the start of the second after Newbury took a 4-0 lead. The Nighthawks' run stopped after a service error, and they then allowed SVC to tie it up with hitting errors of their own. NC used a timeout to collect its composure and came out with a kill by sophomore outside hitter Jake Powell (Salinas, Calif.) followed by two more points. The set remained close throughout before Newbury found itself at game point with a 24-22 advantage. SVC was able to rattle off four-straight points, however, and took the set 26-24.
The third frame saw SVC ahead 4-3 when Newbury took the lead on back-to-back service aces. It was a back-and-forth game throughout with the score getting tied a handful of times. Southern Vermont errors allowed the Nighthawks to take a 17-14 lead which would ultimately give them the cushion needed to take the set. A Powell behind-the-head drop kill put NC up 22-19 as they finished off the game with the 25-21 final.
Newbury carried its momentum into the fourth set and commanded early while taking a 5-0 lead to start. The Nighthawks would gradually increase its lead while maintaining the advantage before tying the match at two games apiece with the 25-17 fourth-set victory.
Three of the four points scored in the final game were results from service errors and the two teams were eager to push for the deciding set win. SVC led 3-1 before Newbury went on a 7-2 run which included a dump by Li and a strong block tandem of senior middle blocker Jarryl McKey (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and junior setter Cody Braden (Fair Grove, Mo.). After the switch, the Mountaineers closed the gap to 9-8, but Li would respond with a tip kill as Newbury carried on for the 15-10 decisive set victory.
Mountaineer junior outside hitter Anthony Barahona (Eagle Rock, Calif.) followed Dighton with 15 kills to go along with a match-high 25 digs; he also added two block assists and three service aces. Canta recorded 31 assists and 12 digs on the defensive end.
Powell finished with 18 kills and 16 digs as freshman outside hitter Tyler Sayne (Tucson, Ariz.) totaled 15 kills and 21 digs on the evening. Braden and senior libero Alex Amylon (Scituate, R.I.) each had a team-high 23 digs while Braden also led all players with 34 assists.
The Mountaineers are right back at it Saturday when they visit conference-leading Endicott College for a 1 p.m. match while Newbury is off until Saturday, March 9 when the Nighthawks go to Daniel Webster College for a 12 p.m. NECC matchup.