BEVERLY, Mass. – Endicott men's volleyball is back in the NECC Championship match for the fourth straight year after the top-seeded Gulls handled the #4 seed Newbury in straight sets (25-16, 25-17, 25-21) behind a monstrous 14-kill, five-block effort from junior outside John Osborne (Freehold, N.J.) and 12.5 team blocks overall in the win.
Endicott (16-11) will face #3 Regis (12-15) with the 2015 NECC Championship and automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Tournament on the line on Saturday, April 11th at 3:00 p.m. inside MacDonald Gymnasium. Regis upset the #2 seed Southern Vermont in a five-set thriller (14-25, 25-19, 29-27, 18-25, 15-13) to reach their first conference championship in the sixth-year of the program's existence.
NECC Semifinal One: #1 Endicott def. #4 Newbury 3-0 (25-16, 25-17, 25-21)
Osborne's offensive output was part of an overall .288 team hitting percentage that also included five kills apiece for juniors Alex Wasik (Milford, Mass.) and Daniel Toth (Vernon, N.J.) as well as for sophomore Ryan Sutherland (Fairport, N.Y.). Wasik, Toth, and Sutherland all hit over .400 for the match.
Sutherland was a major factor in Endicott's success on the block with seven assisted stuffs at the net while Osborne had five total blocks including two solo. Wasik and junior setter Cameron Little (San Diego, Calif.) each added three block assists.
In the back row, senior captain and libero Kristian Catalan (Sudbury, Mass.) totaled 16 digs which tied his second-highest output for the season. Catalan is averaging nearly three digs per set heading into the NECC Championship. Little and junior Chandler Tayek (Rolling Hills Estates, Calif.) also contributed with five digs apiece.
Little would finish with 28 set assists in the win while his counterpart, Newbury's Michael Holihan (Northampton, Pa.) had a match-high 31 dimes.
Newbury's senior outside Danny Tiner (Salem, N.H.) matched Osborne for a match-high 14 kills while freshman middle Wade Robidoux (Agawam, Mass.) added seven kills and two block assists in the loss. Nighthawks senior outside Chi Yin Li (Hong Kong, China) stuffed the stat sheet with five kills, 11 digs, and two assisted blocks in his final collegiate match.
Endicott is 2-1 in NECC Championship matches since joining the conference in the 2011-12 season. The Gulls lost to Elms 3-1 in their first NECC title appearance in 2012 but have won back-to-back conference championships under third-year head coach George Chapell. In 2013, Endicott exacted revenge on Elms with a straight set win and last season, the Blue and Green won in four over Daniel Webster before reaching the NCAA Quarterfinals.
NECC Semifinal Two: #3 Regis def. #2 Southern Vermont 3-2 (14-25, 25-19, 29-27, 18-25, 15-13)
A balanced offensive attack that saw six players record at least five kills including three that surpassed double-digit kills helped Regis advanced past Southern Vermont in the NECC Semifinals and into their first NECC Championship in program history. Pride sophomore outside Sean Bisnett (Oxnard, Calif.) led the charge with 16 kills on a .314 hitting percentage, nine digs, and three block assists while setters Joe Hanrahan (Coventry, R.I.) and Ryan Husher (Camarillo, Calif.) shared the setting duties with 26 and 24 assists, respectively.
Freshman Josiah Roque (Oxnard, Calif.) and Marcos Aguirre (Norwalk, Calif.) each had 10 kills with just three hitting errors. Along with his 24 assists, Husher recorded nine kills, eight digs, and five total blocks for the outstanding overall effort. Freshman middle Brett Krahl (Santa Clarita, Calif.) added seven kills and sophomore middle Brandon Tordoff (Coventry, R.I.) chipped in five more kills with an impressive eight block assists.
Southern Vermont, who exited the conference playoffs in the semifinal round for the second straight season, got a match-high 23 kills out of their freshman star Stewart Ramirez (Los Angeles, Calif.) on a .245 hitting percentage with 12 digs and two block assists. Senior outside Keven Walley (Pico Rivera, Calif.) was a force with 19 kills (.289) with nine digs while senior Joey Dighton (Riverside, Calif.) had 10 kills and four blocks in the loss.
Setting up the Mountaineers offense was senior setter Herson Canta (Lagunitas, Calif.) who amassed 63 assists, nearly 13 assists per set, with six digs. Tino Escovedo (Fresno, Calif.) had a match-high 16 digs, two more than his counterpart Renato Rosas (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) from Regis.