BEVERLY, Mass.- Endicott knew they were in for a tough match when they squared off against #16 Eastern of Pennsylvania and the Eagles lived up to the hype taking down the host Gulls 3-0. The Eagles were led by outstanding play from Kearby Benak (Houston, Texas), Lauren Sproles (Lititz, Pa.) and Rikki Schlager (Lititz, Pa.) who impressed both offensively and defensively.
The Eagles were able to take the first two sets by scores of 25-11 and 25-14. The offense was firing from the start as the team hit .478 and .421 in the opening two sets. The Gulls struggled to get much going offensively as they hit .000 in the opening frame before hitting .192 in the second. The third set, which was the most closely contested at 25-18, saw Eastern come back to Earth a bit while hitting .272 but Endicott still couldn't take advantage and only hit -.067.
Endicott was led yet again by the trio of Jackie Cone (Salem, N.H.), Mackenzie Guerre (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Callie Dolan (Westford, Mass.) offensively. Cone led the team in hitting percentage as she knocked home four kills and hit at a .300 clip. Guerre and Dolan both tied for the team-high in kills with five. VandeMerkt guided the Endicott offense with 19 assists and also picked up five digs in the process. Tori McIntyre (San Diego, Calif.) and Jessica Petrucci (Cape Coral, Fla.) tied for the team-high in digs with six.
The Eagles were led up front by Sproles who notched a double-double with a team-high in kills with 12 and digs with 10 while hitting at a .440 clip. Benak was also on fire as she hit .350 with 10 kills and eight digs. Schlager was spectacular running the offense as she averaged 12 assists/set on her way to 36 in the three set victory. Rylie Haas (Bethlehem, Pa.) was a force defensively as she led the Eagles with 16 digs.
Endicott, now 1-4, moves on to take on Bowdoin at 4 p.m. on Court 1. #16 Eastern, who improved to 5-1 with the victory, will take on fellow 2012 NCAA tournament participants UMass Boston at 4 p.m. on Court 2.