Nazareth downs Baruch and Newbury
box l Newbury
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- After amassing 11 kills without an error against Johnson & Wales on Friday, senior Ellis Walsh accumulated 13 kills on 16 attempts with no hitting errors against 15th-ranked Baruch on Saturday. With Walsh's efficiency, Nazareth swept Baruch by the scores of 25-19, 25-20, 25-12 in the Golden Flyers' third match of the Vassar Invitational. In Nazareth's final match, the Golden Flyers defeated Newbury in four sets by the scores of 25-9, 25-15, 26-28, 25-11. Following Saturday's matches, Walsh was named to the all-tournament team.
With the victories, seventh-ranked Nazareth improves to 24-8 overall. Baruch slid to 17-13 overall after the loss. Newbury fell to 7-15 overall after dropping its match to the Golden Flyers.
In addition to Walsh's proficiency on the offensive attack, freshman Brody Cord also had a nearly flawless performance against Baruch as he tallied 11 kills with just one error. Senior Dan Miranda added five kills with just one error. Walsh, Cord, and Miranda led the Golden Flyers' attack with hitting percentages of .812, .455, and .444, respectively.
As a team, Nazareth finished with a percentage of .423 to dominate the third set. The Golden Flyers racked up 13 kills with just two hitting errors in the decisive set. Meanwhile, Nazareth held the Bearcats to just three kills and forced Baruch into six hitting errors. Miranda totaled a match-high six blocks during the contest to stymie the Bearcats' attack. Junior Dan Mowery had a match-high eight digs, which also prevented Baruch from converting their attempts.
Junior EJ Wells-Spicer tallied a match-high 25 assists against the Bearcats as he ran Nazareth's offense. Wells-Spicer also finished with two service aces and two kills. Additionally, junior Alex Houghtalen recorded three service aces and chipped in four kills. Nazareth finished the contest with a 6-1 advantage in service aces.
Against the Golden Flyers' unrelenting defense, Vincent Cruz finished with a team-high seven kills, followed by Jack McKee with five kills. Danny Olson recorded 16 assists as the Bearcats' primary setter.
The Golden Flyers dominated three of the four sets against Newbury. The Nighthawks managed to edge Nazareth 28-26 in the third set to avoid the three-set sweep.
In the three sets the Golden Flyers won, Nazareth totaled 42 kills and just nine hitting errors. The Golden Flyers recorded an astronomical hitting percentage of .750 in the first set as Nazareth pounded out 12 kills on 16 attempts with no errors. The Golden Flyers finished with hitting percentages of .370 and .500 in the second and fourth sets, respectively. In the third set, the Nighthawks held Nazareth to an uncharacteristic -.028 hitting percentage to claim the victory.
Against Newbury, Cord finished with a team-high 11 kills while junior Robert Kraft added 10 kills and three service aces. Nazareth finished with an overpowering 9-1 advantage in aces. Houghtalen, Walsh, and sophomore Cole Hutter combined for an additional 24 kills for the Golden Flyers' balanced attack.
Freshman Nick McDonagh amassed a match-high 35 assists to organize Nazareth's offense. Junior Connor Ecklund recorded nine digs to lead the Golden Flyers.
Danny Kim had 11 kills on 30 attempts to lead the Nighthawks. Cody Braden finished with 18 assists, and Chi Vin Li tallied a match-high 10 digs.
Nazareth's next action is April 14th and 15th when the Golden Flyers travel to NYU to play for the United Volleyball Championship. The winner of the UVC title receives an automatic bid into the inaugural NCAA Tournament, hosted by Springfield College. In its first match on April 14th, fourth-seeded Nazareth will play fifth-seeded and 10th-ranked Vassar. On February 11th, the Golden Flyers outlasted Vassar in five sets, 25-22, 25-23, 23-25, 21-25, 18-16. Walsh (15 kills), Houghtalen (14 kills), Kraft (13 kills), and senior Billy Gimello (13 kills) each finished in double-digits in kills.