Nashua, N.H. - Saunoa Afoa (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Richmond Iturralde Zavalza (Tucson, Ariz.) posted 15 kills each and Ryan Howdeshell (Fairbanks, Alaska) posted 14 as host Daniel Webster outlasted upset-minded Newbury, 3-2 in a marathon NECC matchup Thursday night at Mario Vagge Gymnasium. With the win, DWC pulled into a tie with Endicott for first place in the NECC standings - the latest in a season in program history an Eagle squad has been in such a position.
DWC (12-9, 6-1 NECC) led 1-0 and 2-1 in sets but saw Newbury (3-17, 1-7 NECC) battle back to force a fifth and the Nighthawks held off two match points while DWC held off one before prevailing with total set scores of 25-22, 20-25, 26-24, 22-25, 18-16.
Wade Robidaux (Agawam, Mass.) was sensational for Newbury, registering a match-high 26 kills and added seven digs, four aces, and two blocks. Xavier Brown-Rose (Wilbraham, Mass.) notched 14 kills and Skyelar Whitehead (Belchertown, Mass.) chipped in with eight. Luis Aranda (Boyle heights, Cal.) dished out 56 assists.
Howdeshell added 12 kills for the Eagles while Afoa posted five aces and three blocks. Tommy Reyes (Providence, R.I.) also picked up a double double of 10 kills and 12 digs. Darrien Mason (Farmington, Conn.) chipped in with seven kills.
Daniel Webster visits Elms for a NECC matchup on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. and faces Bard at 3:00 p.m. Newbury visits Mount Ida Saturday at 11:00 a.m. and takes on Fontbonne at 1:00 p.m.
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DWC hit .262 while Newbury hit .201 on the night and the Eagles finished with advantages in total kills (65-60) while Newbury stayed close with a decisive advantage in total blocks (14-7) and were aided by an Eagle season-worst of 16 service errors.
DWC raced out to an early 7-0 lead in set one and never trailed, but in a sign of things to come Newbury rallied from deficits of 21-8 and 24-15 to almost pull even before DWC finished with the 25-22 win. Reyes would post five kills in the set while Howdeshell knocked down three.
DWC hit .357 in the second after hitting .192 in the first with Afoa knocking down four kills, but Newbury came alive with a vengeance. After hitting exactly .000 in the first, the Nighthawks hit .417 in the second with Robidaux going 8-1-10 on the attack.
DWC answered in the third keeping the pace in hitting .351 with Afoa going 6-1-10 on the attack and Zavalza knocking down four kills. Newbury cooled to .206 but Robidaux kept up the pace with six kills in a set that saw 15 ties and eight lead changes.
Newbury forced the fifth set hitting .195 in the fourth with Brown-Rose posting a 5-0-9 mark with Robidaux adding five more kills. Zavalza countered with four kills for DWC, who hit .114 - their worst of the match and Newbury never trailed.
Set five saw DWC jump to hit .294 with Howdeshell knocking down four kills on seven attempts while Robidaux knocked down five with Newbury hitting .200.
The set saw 11 ties and four lead changes. DWC had Newbury on the ropes at 14-13 after a Zavalza kill and 15-14 after an Afoa spike, only to see the Nighthawks pull back in front at 16-15 after an Eagle unforced error and Whitehead kill.
DWC tied it at 16 on a Newbury error, took the lead at 17-6 in Howdeshell's final kill of the night and closed it out on a Nighthawk attack error.