BEVERLY, Mass.- The third seeded Gulls and sixth seeded Lions entered Tuesday night's Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Tournament matchup having played just one week ago with Endicott having swept Eastern Nazarene 3-0 behind a disciplined team effort on both the offensive and defensive ends. With the added pressure of a playoff atmosphere, the Gulls once again would prevail as they defeated the Lions three sets to none to advance to the CCC Semifinals against the second seeded Seahawks of Salve Regina.
Endicott rode the hot hand of Second Team All-CCC middle Mackenzie Guerre (Carlsbad, Calif.) as the sophomore led Endicott with 12 kills and led all players with a .400 hitting percentage (12-2-25). Guerre also led the team in blocks with two (one solo, one assist). It was the Gulls' middle presence that carried them as fellow middle Hayley Knapp (Valencia, Calif.) was second on the team behind Guerre with five kills and a .308 average. All-CCC Honorable Mention member Tori McIntyre (San Diego, Calif.) tied with Knapp with five kills and also picked up six digs on the defensive side of the ball.
All-CCC Second Team setter Alleigh VandeMerkt (Riverside, Ill.) showed her well-rounded game as she led the team in assists with 25 and was second on the team in digs with nine. Senior Callie Dolan (Westford, Mass.), who was recently named to the All-CCC First Team, contributed four kills and a .200 average while also picking up a match high six aces. Leading the defensive effort was All-CCC Second Team libero Erika Trudon (Coventry, Conn.) who tied for the match high in digs with 15 while also chipping in with three aces. The Gulls as a team posted 13 aces to Eastern Nazarene's five.
Eastern Nazarene, who played a great defensive match, collected 49 team digs, six more than Endicott. Leading the defensive effort was outside Kortney Jenkins (Bunker Hill, W.V.) as she tied with Trudon with the match high 15 digs. Close behind her was Hannah Welsh (Derry, N.H.) who chipped in with 10 of her own as Vanessa Pascal (Marlborough, Mass.) picked up nine. Cayla Clinkscale (Winchendon, Mass.) led the Lions with a match high 14 kills as she hit .206 on the evening. The All-CCC Honorable Mention middle showed her versatility as well as she registered one ace and six digs as well. Setter Lauryl Berger (Laurel, Del.) notched a match high 26 assists in the loss.
With the win, Endicott improves to 21-14 on the season and moves on the play #2 Salve Regina in Newport, R.I. on Thursday night. With the loss, Eastern Nazarene falls to 15-17 and sees their season come to a close.