BROOKLINE, Mass. - Gators freshman Edward Cromwell (Las Vegas, Nev.) was the only player to finish with double-digit kills, recording 10 of them, helping the Gators to a 3-0 (25-12, 25-19, 25-16) straight sets victory over the Newbury Nighthawks on Senior Day at Pappas Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon.
Cromwell added eight digs and three aces for the Gators. Freshman Derick Speight (Clinton, Md.) finished with seven kills, six digs, and two blocks. Freshman Josh Williams (Hartford, Conn.) added four kills, hitting .429 from the floor. Freshman Nathan Matthews (Vinton, Va.) finished with a double-double; 24 assists and 10 digs.
Nighthawks freshman Matt Sepe (Cranston, R.I.) finished with a team-high five kills. Junior Joshua Thorne (Oxford, Conn.) and senior Nile Fox (Hampton, Va.) added four kills each. Thorne and Sepe had a team-high eight digs, while freshman Jake Corsi (Medfield, Mass.) added a career-high 10 assists.
The opening set was a struggle for both teams to produce offensively. In total, the first set only saw nine kills combined between the teams. The Gators used scoring runs of 7-1 and 5-0 to control the set. The latter run included three aces by freshman Dion Johnson (Las Vegas, Nev.) on the way to a 25-12 first set.
In the second, the Gators jumped out quickly and maintained a five-point edge over the Nighthawks for much of the set until a 6-0 run put the Gators ahead 23-13. The Nighthawks looked for momentum late in the set and got some from freshman Tyler Polite (Hyde Park, Mass.) who served for six straight points to cut the deficit to 23-19. The Gators would end the run and close the set on a Johnson kill and a Nighthawks error.
It was a third straight quick start for the Gators in set three, opening up an 8-1 edge. The Nighthawks couldn't manage to dig out of that hole, getting as close as five in the middle of the set, but back-to-back Cromwell service aces would end the match in straight sets.
The Nighthawks drop to 6-14 following the loss on the opening day of April. With the season ending in a week for the Nighthawks, conference games become incredibly vital in the race for playoff seeding.
Tuesday night, the Nighthawks travel to Lesley University for New England Collegiate Conference play at 8:00 p.m.