BEVERLY, Mass. – In a matchup of NECC unbeaten schools, the Endicott men's volleyball team rallied from two sets down to defeat Southern Vermont in five sets (21-25, 17-25, 25-17, 25-19, 15-11) and staked their claim as the only team in the conference with an unblemished league record. Endicott (7-7, 6-0 NECC) rebounded from a slow start to hit .300, .323, and .385 in the final three sets while using 17.0 team blocks to hinder the Mountaineers attack.
The Gulls struggled to find their offensive rhythm early on but junior setter Cameron Little (San Diego, Calif.) distributed 48 assists including 19 to junior outside John Osborne (Freehold, N.J.), 12 to junior outside Dan Seaver (Milford, Mass.), and another 11 to middle Ryan Sutherland (Fairport, N.Y.). Little's assist output tied his career-high which was established last Wednesday in five sets against #11 MIT.
Sutherland as well as junior middle Daniel Toth (Vernon, N.J.) were integral pieces in Endicott's blocking game as both players had their hands in eight blocks apiece. Osborne, the reigning NECC Player of the Week, also contributed with eight digs and three assisted blocks as did Seaver with three block assists of his own.
Endicott's back row defenders, freshman Troy Riorden (Fairport, N.Y.) and senior captain Kristian Catalan (Sudbury, Mass.), kept Southern Vermont from garnering their first-ever victory inside MacDonald Gymnasium with 19 and 16 digs, respectively. Riorden's 19 digs set a new career-high while Catalan tied his personal best.
Southern Vermont (10-5, 4-1 NECC) controlled the opening two sets of action thanks to seven kills in both the first and second sets by freshman outside and NECC Rookie of the Week Stewart Ramirez (Los Angeles, Calif.). Ramirez, who also struck seven kills in the fourth set, would finish his massive performance with a match-high 30 kills on 49 attempts at a .510 clip while adding eight digs and a solo block defensively.
Twelve kills from Mountaineers senior outside Scott Fitzgerald (Queensbury, N.Y.) and eight apiece from seniors Joey Dighton (Riverside, Calif.) and Keven Walley (Pico Rivera, Calif.) factored into Southern Vermont offensive output that averaged a .205 hitting percentage as a team. Distributing the ball for Southern Vermont was senior setter Herson Canta (Lagunitas, Calif.) who averaged over 10 assists per set and finished with 53 overall in the loss.
Defensively, Dighton and Canta had six and four block assists, respectively. Walley had a team-high 13 digs with both Canta and senior libero Tino Escovedo (Fresno, Calif.) adding 11 each.
Endicott and Southern Vermont will meet again on Thursday, March 26th at 7:00 p.m. in Bennington, Vermont for their final regular season meeting. Endicott will be on the road this weekend to face Daniel Webster in NECC action on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. before traveling to Lasell for a tri-match with the Lasers and #14 Dominican (Ill.) on Sunday. Southern Vermont hosts Elms on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. for a conference matchup.