BOSTON, Mass. – Senior Zeke Kubisch (Bethlehem, N.Y.) recorded 14 kills and five digs while sophomore Matt Devendorf (Glastonbury, Conn.) added nine kills and five blocks to pace the Endicott men's volleyball team to a 3-1 win over Wentworth in the North Eastern Collegiate Volleyball Association finale for both teams.
The Gulls jumped out to a 3-0 lead to open the contest, thanks to a Leopard service error and kills from Devendorf and junior Jeremy Siden (Natick, Mass.). An Endicott blocking error and a kill from senior Derek Portugal (Barrington, R.I.) pulled the hosts within one before Endicott scored three of the next four points to take a 6-3 lead.
Using a 5-2 run, Wentworth tied the game at 8-all on a senior Dan Mulvey (Halifax, Mass.) kill and the two teams would trade the next four points, resulting in a pair of tie scores. Endicott capitalized on two attack errors and a setting error to take the lead at 13-10 and led by a score of 22-19 before the Leopards scored four the next five points to knot the game at 23-all, thanks to a senior Derek Portugal (Barrington, R.I.) ace. However, the Gulls took a 25-23 decision after two Wentworth errors ended the game.
Wentworth jumped out to a fast start in the second game, taking leads of 7-1 and 11-2, as Portugal had three kills during the run. The Gulls eventually trailed by just one at 17-16, thanks to a kill by Devendorf and four Leopard errors. A pair of senior Lowell Jesmer (Rochester, N.Y.) kills sandwiched around a Gull setting error gave Wentworth a 20-16 lead and Portugal added an ace to make it a five-point (21-16) game. The visitors would come within three at 24-21, but a freshman Mike Buonincontra (Shelton, Conn.) kill gave the Leopards a 25-21 win and evened the match at a game apiece.
The third game was a back and forth tilt with the teams seeing three ties through the first nine points. Endicott would take a 15-12, thanks in part to a freshman Travis Netherton (Waukegan, Ill.) kill and block before Wentworth used a 7-2 run to take a 19-17 lead on a freshman Ross Burdett (Needham, Mass.) kill. A pair of freshman Mike Coniglione (Glenville, N.Y.) kills tied the game at 19-aa, and, after the Leopards had taken a 22-20 lead, Endicott five of the next six points – including the last four of the game – to take a 25-23 win and a 2-1 lead in the match.
In the fourth game Wentworth fought back from a 12-8 deficit to tie the contest at 13-all on a Buonincontra kill, and, after two consecutive Leopard blocking errors gave the Gulls a 15-13 lead, Buonincontra had a kill and teamed with Jesmer for a block to the the score at 15-all. The Gulls rolled off the next five points, thanks in part to two kills and a block assist from Devendorf to take a 20-15 lead, and, after a Jesmer kill cut the lead to 20-16, Endicott closed the match with five of the next six points, ending it on a Netherton block.
Netherton helped pace Endicott's defense with nine block assists, while junior Andrew Slocum had 12 digs. Junior Jeremy Schlosser (Emmaus, Pa.) and freshman Carter Roche (Clifton Park, N.Y.) combined for 43 assists, coming on 24 and 19, apiece.
Jesmer led the Leopards with 15 kills, six blocks and one ace, while Burdett added 11 kills, eight digs, and two blocks. Portugal (10 kills, three blocks, eight digs, and two aces) and Buonincontra (seven kills, nine digs, and two blocks) also had solid matches as did Mulvey (eight kills and two blocks) and sophomore Tyler Moriarty (Wilbraham, Mass.), who had 43 assists, four blocks and seven digs. Moriarty broke the single-season assist mark of 935, as he has 957.
Endicott improves to 22-12 overall and 14-2 in NECVA NE play. The Gulls host New Haven on Tuesday night. Wentworth stands at 20-10 (10-6) and awaits word on a possible ECAC Tournament berth, which will be announced on Monday, April 4.