CHICOPEE, Mass. - Blazers senior Austin DeCosmo (Southwick, Mass.) finished with a match-high 11 kills, the only player with double-digit kills, as the Elms Blazers defeated the Newbury Nighthawks in straight sets (25-17, 25-20, 25-19) on Saturday afternoon in the New England Collegiate Conference season finale at Picknelly Arena on Elms Senior Day.
Junior Daniel Bondarovsky (Rio de Janiero, BRA) finished with eight kills on 13 attempts, finishing with a match-high hitting percentage of .538. Seniors Oua'Sean Crowe (Stamford, Conn.) and Aaron Fogle (Queens Village, N.Y.) each added five kills.
Nighthawks freshman Tyler Polite (Hyde Park, Mass.) finished with a team-high five kills on 11 attempts. Junior Joshua Thorne (Oxford, Conn.) added four kills and eight digs, while senior Nile Fox (Hampton, Va.) finished with three kills.
The Blazers came out firing early in the first, taking the first seven points of the match, including two kills by DeCosmo and two aces by sophomore John Dunphy (Farmington, Conn.). The Nighthawks stopped the bleeding and charged back with 11 of 16 points, getting within one at 12-11. The scoring runs continued, with Elms responding with a 7-2 run to lead 20-13. A Crowe kill finished off the set 25-17 for Elms.
In the second, the dramatic scoring runs continued as a 6-0 scoring run early stretched out the Elms advantage to 13-7. Four straight Nighthawks points put them within two, but the Nighthawks would get no closer as a three-point burst gave Elms enough breathing room. Crowe finished it off again, with a kill, giving the Blazers the 25-20 set win.
In the final set, the scoring runs lessened, with the battle for position going to the Nighthawks, who held a 12-10 lead. Two DeCosmo points and two kills by Bondarovsky were part of a 6-0 run to give the Blazers control at 16-12. The Nighthawks could only manage to get within three and another Blazers kill finished the set at 25-19.
The victory bumps Elms to 16-9 (8-4 NECC) putting them third in the NECC standings following play today. The loss drops the Nighthawks to 9-15 (4-8 NECC) and puts them into fifth place, putting them on the road for the NECC quarterfinals.
The official announcement and full seeding and bracket for the NECC Tournament will be posted following the end of play on Sunday afternoon.