NASHUA, N.H. - The Newbury College men's volleyball team opened the 2015 at the "Live Free or Die Invitational," Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
Lasell 3, Newbury 0
In their first match Saturday afternoon, the Nighthawks fell to Lasell, 3-0. First year outside hitter Joshua Thorne (Oxford, Conn.) notched five kills with three digs and one ace.
The Lasers came out of the gate strong; the Nighthawks were never able to find themselves a rhythm in this one, as they were defeated in three sets. However, despite being shut out by the Lasers, Newbury never gave up in this one, as they fought up until the very end. Lasell was able to use their powerful strikes to surge past the Nighthawks 25-15 in the first set. Coming off a very hot start in the first, Lasell looked to do more of the same in the second set.
Using impressive teamwork, communication, and speed, the Lasers were able to put the pressure on the Nighthawks in the second set. The Lasers play was nearly perfect, only allowing Newbury to tally 14 points in the set. Lasell cruised 25-14 to take the second set. Now, facing a 2-0 deficit, and on the brink of being swept, the Nighthawks of Newbury College had to do something to keep their hopes alive. Unfortunately for Newbury, Lasell was just too much to handle, dominating them for the 3rd time, winning the set in dominating fashion, 25-16, and sweeping the match 3-0.
Newbury had a pair of standout performers in this game. Fellow first year Wade Robidoux (Agawam, Mass.) was able to lead the Nighthawks with 6 kills while Danny Tiner (Salem, N.H.) recorded 5 digs. First year settered Michael Holihan (Northampton, Pa.) paced the offense with 20 assists.
Rivier 3, Newbury 0
In their second match of the day, Saturday, the Nighthawks fell to host school, Rivier University, 3-0. Senior outside hitter Chi Yin Li (Framingham, Mass.) led the Nighthawks with a team-high six kills and six defensive digs.
Rivier came out strong, taking the first set by the score of 25-16. With the majority of the crowd on their side, the Raiders were able to power their way past the Nighthawks with ease. Rivier played as an impenetrable unit, allowing virtually no space for Newbury to land any good strikes. Snuffing out many of Newbury's attempts, the Raiders quickly took the first and second sets in dominating fashions.
The third set had a much different tempo to it. Newbury looked as if they had finally settled down in the third, as they began to communicate and work together effectively. The Nighthawks were able to go stride for stride with the Raiders in this set. The Raiders were still able to win the set, but the Nighthawks gave them a little bit more of a test. Despite their efforts, the Nighthawks ultimately lost the match 3-0.
Johnson & Wales 3, Newbury 0
The Wildcats ran their record to 9-1 with the 25-15, 29-27, 25-22 victory, hitting .204 as a team and were led by 10 kills from Ryan Kennedy (W. Barnstable, Mass.) and eight from Chris Espinola (Derry, N.H.). Kyle Eva (Charlestown, R.I.) chipped in with seven kills while J.J. Bessette (Coventry, R.I.) finished with 33 assists.
Newbury, which hit .086 overall, picked up 12 kills and 11 digs from Danny Tiner (Salem, N.H.), while Chi Yin Li (Framingham, Mass.) posted seven kills and Xavier Brown-Rose (Wilbraham, Mass.) added six. Michael Holihan (Northampton, Pa.) dished out 24 assists, adding four kills.
Newbury had the Wildcats on the ropes in the second set leading 24-21 before JWU rallied to tie and the teams posted two late ties before the Wildcats stole momentum for good with the 29-27 victory.
Newbury returns to the hard-court Thursday February 5th when they travel to nearby Newton, Mass. for a 3:30 p.m. tilt against non-conference Mount Ida College.
-- Game stories provided by Anthony Perry and Ken Belbin, Sports Information Directors at Rivier University and Daniel Webster College, respectively.