BEVERLY, Mass.- Looking to avenge their 2012 loss to Endicott in Springfield, Mass., Western New England (WNE) rode the arms of Casey Cameron (Reading, Mass.) and Devyn Frank (Mystic, Conn.) to escape Beverly with a 3-2 victory in a pivotal Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) matchup. In the match, Endicott senior Callie Dolan (Westford, Mass.) recorded and eclipsed 1,000 career kills. With the win, WNE improved to 18-7 (4-2) while Endicott falls to 17-13 (5-2). In the second match of the day, WNE defeated WPI 3-0 before Endicott defeated WPI 3-0 in the night cap.
MATCH 1: Endicott 2 WNE 3 (19-25, 25-20, 24-26, 25-15, 10-15)
The first set saw the Golden Bears come out with an offensive attack that was nearly unstoppable. The team collectively hit at a .567 clip as the put forth a stat line of 18-1-30 in the set. That attack was led by Cameron and Kelsey Armstrong (Groton, Conn.) who each recorded four kills with no errors while Frank and Carolyn Hajdusek (Northfield, N.H.) each chipped in with three kills without errors. The four players combined to go 14-0-22 in the opening frame. That offensive outburst would carry WNE to a 25-19 first set victory.
Proving yet again to be a resilient group, Endicott rallied together and stormed back to take the second set 25-20. The Gulls were led by Mackenzie Guerre (Carlsbad, Calif.) who collected four kills on nine swings in the frame. Hayley Knapp (Valencia, Calif.) was close behind as she picked up two kills on three swings as Alleigh VandeMerkt (Riverside, Ill.) picked up eight of her 18 digs in the set. Endicott would out-hit WNE .122-.049 in the set.
The third set proved to be the closest as WNE would edge Endicott 26-24. Both offenses struggled to get anything going as WNE would hit -.040 compared to just -.077 for Endicott. It would be WNE's defense that would lead them to victory as they tallied 33 digs in the third.
Endicott would just not go away again in the fourth and took the set by a commanding 25-15 score to force a winner-take-all fifth set. The Gulls outhit the Golden Bears .406 to .105 in the fourth as Dolan, Guerre and Tori McIntyre (San Diego, Calif.) would combine to go 12-0-25, with Guerre leading the way with six of the kills. The Gulls also picked up 19 digs and three blocks in the frame.
The fifth would be a seesaw affair that would see WNE lead 8-7 at the switch. From that point on, the visitors would ride their strong serving to take a 15-10 set win and 3-2 match win. The visitors were led by Cameron's team leading 14 kills as she also hit at a .353 clip. Frank bested her in average with a .367 clip on her way to picking up 13 kills. Their 6-2 setting split between Rachel Meachem Niskayuna, N.Y.) and Jenna Leuck (Dumont, N.J.) impressed as each surpassed 24 assists in the match. Libero Grace Kuharski (Avon, Conn.) was everywhere defensively as she picked up a match high 30 digs.
Endicott was led offensively by Guerre's 15-2-35 performance as she hit a match high .371. The sophomore also collected five total blocks (1 solo, 4 assist) on the match. Dolan was close behind as she picked up 14 kills while taking a school record 65 attempts. VandeMerkt tallied 39 assists to lead the Endicott offense as she also picked up 18 digs, second on the team to freshman Erika Trudon's (Coventry, Conn.) 24.
MATCH 2: Endicott 3 WPI 0 (25-12, 25-12, 25-18)
In the night cap, Endicott used a dominant middle attack to shut out the visiting Engineers of WPI. Guerre continued her dominant performance from the WNE match and put up some eye popping numbers. In her two sets played, the middle had 12 kills on 14 error-free swings, good enough for a .857 average, which led all players.
Endicott's serving proved to be a weapon in the match as they racked up nine as a team compared to six for the Engineers. Leading the way from the service line was VandeMerkt as she registered a match high four aces while also putting up an impressive 38 assists. VandeMerkt guided the offense to the tune of a .359 clip. Joining Guerre in the error-less category was fellow middle Hayley Knapp who put down six kills on ten swings. Knapp also led the team in blocks as she registered three assist blocks. Freshman Kelli Sugrue (Tewksbury, Mass.) chipped in with three kills of her own and one assist block. Jackie Cone (Salem, N.H.) was a force on the pin as she hit .545 (7-1-11) while splitting time on both pins.
Leading the defensive effort was Trudon yet again as the freshman libero has a team high 11 digs. Fellow freshman Lily Benabou (Medway, Mass.) was close behind as she picked up seven of her own as Tori McIntyre would notch six.
WPI was led by middle Holly Gasner (Seward, Alaska) who led the team with five kills. Caroline Meyer (Eaton, Mass.) and Lucy Garvey (Westerly, R.I) split time at setter as Meyer led the team with eight assists before Garvey came in to pitch in with five of her own. Libero Jenny Wallace (Holden, Mass.) was impressive defensively as she did her best to keep the Engineers in the match by registering a match high 15 digs. The sophomore also tallied two aces in the loss.
The win improves Endicott to 18-13 on the season while WPI falls to 7-19. The Gulls are off until Tuesday when they play host to CCC foe Eastern Nazarene at 7 p.m. to close out their CCC regular season. The Eastern Nazarene match will also be Senior Night for the lone senior Callie Dolan before the team heads to Connecticut the following weekend to take on Brandeis and Conn. College. WPI is now off until Tuesday as well when they travel to Clark for a NEWMAC matchup.