Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
BROOKLINE, Mass. – The Elms College men's volleyball team rolled to a three-set victory over host Newbury College, 3-0 (25-13, 25-22, 25-12), in a New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) clash at Pappas Gymnasium Thursday night. With the win, the Blazers improve to 12-7 overall and 4-2 in the NECC, while the Nighthawks fall to 2-4 in league play and 3-10 on the season.
After falling behind 3-2 in the first set, the Blazers responded with six straight points, featuring a trio of kills from junior Daniel Bondarovsky (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), to pull ahead 8-3. Elms continued to race ahead with a 6-1 run behind an ace from Bondarovsky and a strike from senior Qua'Sean Crowe (Stamford, Conn.) to possess a 14-4 advantage. The Nighthawks worked the lead down to 16-8, until kills from senior Dervin Dimanche (Queens, N.Y.) and freshman David Hernandez (Springfield, Mass.) stifled the Newbury run. Errors by the Nighthawks escorted the Blazers lead, along with a kill from senior Austin DeCosmo (Southwick, Mass.) to push Elms to the 25-15 set win.
Play was back-and-forth to open the second set with the sides until Elms added a pair of kills from DeCosmo and aces from Bondarovsky to secure a 9-6 advantage. Crowe delivered a kill and an ace, along with back-to-back kills from Hernandez to push the Blazers lead to 15-10. Newbury notched three straight points to chip the gap to 15-13, and then traded points with Elms to close the lead to 19-18. Strikes from Crowe and Hernandez put the Blazers up 21-18, but a pair of kills from Newbury junior Joshua Thorne (Oxford, Conn.) helped the Nighthawks even the score at 21-21. Elms capitalized on errors and tacked on a strike from Hernandez to lock up the 25-22 win.
The Blazers took advantage of Nighthawk errors early in the third set, along with kills from Dimanche and sophomore John Dunphy (Farmington, Conn.) to gain a 9-4 lead. Crowe tallied consecutive kills, followed by a strike from Dimanche to build a 15-6 advantage over the Nighthawks. Elms senior Aaron Fogle (Queens Village, N.Y.) slammed four kills down the stretch to seal the 25-12 win.
The Blazers delivered a balanced offensive attack with five players logging four-plus kills, paced by six-kill efforts from Crowe and Hernandez. Bondarovsky posted five kills with three aces, while Fogle had four kills and seven digs. DeCosmo registered four kills, five digs and two blocks, and freshman Audrye Alejandro (Las Piedras, P.R.) grabbed a match-high 11 digs. Dunphy dished out a match-high 18 assists, and junior Kahlil Peters (Hartford, Conn.) added 10 assists.
Thorne led the Nighthawks offense with a match-high eight kills and six digs. Senior Nile Fox (Hampton, Va.) had a team-high eight digs with five kills, and freshman Oscar Chavez (Independence, Ore.) totaled 17 assists in the loss.
The Blazers will look to remain in the win column when they host an NECC tri-match against Southern Vermont and Eastern Nazarene Saturday afternoon at Picknelly Arena. Elms will face the Mountaineers at Noon, followed by a tilt with the Lions at 4:00 p.m. Newbury hosts Dean College in non-conference action Saturday at 11:00 a.m.