The No. 1 Eastern Nazarene College women's volleyball team punched its ticket to the NECC Championship match for the second-straight year with an exhilarating 3-2 victory over fourth-seeded Mitchell Friday evening at the Lahue Physical Education Center in the NECC Tournament semifinals.
Courtney McCarthy notched her eighth double-double of the year with a team-high 16 kills to go with 23 digs. Ruth Aguilar posted her fifth triple-double of the season with 27 assists, 16 digs, and 13 kills on the night. Halle Julian racked up 14 kills and four blocks. Jessica Caldwell collected 25 digs while Amya Altman registered 22 digs and four service aces. Samantha Caldwell finished with 23 assists and five digs.
Mitchell's Olivia DeLoach recorded a match-high 23 kills to go with 25 digs while Lexi Hubbard dished out 30 assists and Cameron Childs chipped in with 33 digs.
The visitors raced out to a 19-13 lead in the first set en route to claiming the opening frame 25-19 to establish a 1-0 edge.
Eastern Nazarene battled back to level the match at 1-1 with a 25-20 victory in the second set after chalking up the final three points of the game.
The Lions tallied nine of the first 10 points of the third to construct a 9-1 advantage early in the set. The home side cruised to a 25-15 win in the third frame to seize a 2-1 edge.
Mitchell scored nine of the final 10 points to capture the fourth 25-22 and force a deciding fifth set.
In the deciding fifth game, Eastern Nazarene outlasted the Mariners 15-12 to clinch the 3-2 victory.
On the other side of the bracket, New England College advanced to the title match following an equally exhilirating five-set victory over No. 3 Elms College on Friday night.
Sophomore Tihani Ehia had a monster match, posting a double-double with 16 kills and 29 digs to lead New England College in both categories. Jaycie Kodama added 18 digs, while Dreka Griffin finished with 14 kills and four digs. Shirita Wimberly added 11 digs and seven kills and Maggie Dadmun chipped in 12 digs.
Jaylianne Ramos tallied a double-double for the visiting Elms, recording 17 kills and 16 digs. Alanys Cruz also posted a double-double with 14 kills and 15 digs, as did Dakota Stewart with 46 assists and 14 digs.
New England College got off to a hot start, nabbing the first four point of the first set, and at one point leading 7-1. The Pilgrims would win the first set 25-18.
Elms battled back in a closely contested second set. The set would remain close, with New England College staying within striking distance at 15-17, before Elms would pull away and take the set by a score of 25-18.
The match would continue the back-and-forth swing, with New England College winning the third set, 25-23, and Elms taking the fourth 25-17.
The Pilgrims would jump out to a 4-0 lead in the final set, but Elms would continue to fight, eventually pulling within one point at 13-14.
New England College would seal the win on a kill from Dreka Griffin, 15-13.
The top-seeded Eastern Nazarene will host second-seeded New England College in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Tournament Championship match November 10 at 2:00 p.m.
(Portions of this release courtesy of Eastern Nazarene Sports Information)