Nashua – The trio of sophomore Joe Walz (East Longmeadow, Mass.), senior Chris Shannon (Ronkonkoma, N.Y.) and rookie Joel Hendrix (Keneohe, Haw.) combined for 43 kills and 29 digs and the Daniel Webster men's volleyball broke the program's all-time record for victories in a season with its 10th, powering its way to a 3-0 sweep of Southern Vermont in a pivotal New England Collegiate Conference matchup Thursday night at Mario Vagge Gymnasium.
Eric Smith (Clay, N.Y.) added a match-high 26 assists and pulled in nine digs andKyle Clement (Weymouth, Mass.) added 16 assists as the streaking Eagles (10-4, 3-4 NECC) won for a program-record sixth straight time, took the regular season's rubber match from the Mountaineers, and are now 10-1 since a 0-3 start with the 25-20, 27-25, 25-20 sweep.
Walz was all over the court for the hosts, finishing with one of his best performances of the year - a match-best 16 kills, 13 kills and four digs – while reigning NECC Rookie of the Week Hendrix knocked down 14 kills and had eight digs, hitting .385 (14-4-26), while Shannon erupted for 13 kills and eight digs.
Anthony Barahona (Eagle Rock, Cal.), Connor Murray (Litchfield, Conn.) and Gabriel Franco (Pic Rivera, Cal.) led the much-improved Mountaineers (8-10, 5-2 NECC) with six kills apiece while Nick Haggerty (Wyantskill, N.Y.) pulled in nine digs. Herson Canta (Los Angeles) had 11 assists, while Anthony Ayala (Pico Rivera) dished out nine.
DWC hit .205 as a team against SVC's .151. The Eagles finished with important advantages in total kills (47-26), aces (6-1), and digs (46-36), which helped to negate SVC's sizable differential in total blocks (14-4).
DWC never trailed in the opener, hit. .364 (16-4-33) as Shannon, Walz and Hendrix notched five kills each. DWC led by as many as six early on, before SVC cut it to 14-11 on a Canta kill. But Shannon answered with a kills sparking a set-changing 6-1 run and Walz later closed out the five-point win with his fifth kill.
Match two was an intense back-and forth that saw 16 ties and four lead changes. Walz went off with eight kills while Shannon added five and Hendrix four while Barahona and Franco countered with three apiece.
The teams were tied as late as 25 until Shannon and Smith notched back-to-back kills to pull out the 27-25 win.
DWC trailed only once in a third set that featured five ties. Hendrix would rack up five kills while Walz and Shannon chipped in with three as both teams hit poorly (.053 for DWC, -.032 for SVC).
SVC led early on by three (5-2) behind kills from Keven Whalley (Pico Rivera) and Joseph Dighton (Riverside, Cal.) and led as late as 15-13 after another Dighton kill.
But DWC again answered, this time with a 5-1 run powered by four kills from Hendrix and the Eagles didn't trail again. A Murray kill pulled SVC even at 19, but kills from Shannon and Walz pushed the edge to 22-20 and the Mountaineers saw three unforced errors close it out.
The Eagles return to action on Saturday with another key NECC matchup at Newbury beginning at 2:00 p.m.