Elms College wins title of 2009 ECAC Division III North Region Champion
CHICOPEE, MA, April 11, 2009 - Elms College freshman outside hitter Sequiel Sanchez Velez (San Sebastian, Puerto Rico) hammered down a team-high 25 kills as the top-seeded Blazers battled to a thrilling 3-2 (31-29, 27-30, 35-33, 21-30, 15-13) win over second-seeded Newbury in the championship match of the 2009 ECAC Men's Volleyball North Tournament on Saturday afternoon at the Maguire Center.
With the win, Elms College (20-13) posted its first 20-win season in the program's seven-year history and also became the first team in any sport in school-history to win an ECAC title. Newbury finished its season 24-13 under first-year head coach Jaime Terenzi.
Sanchez Velez was named ECAC North Tournament Most Valuable Player (MVP) as he hit .271 and finished with match-highs of 13 digs and six blocks.
Sophomore outside hitter Alberto Bravo (Toa Baja, Puerto Rico) finished with 19 kills and hit .351 (19-6-37), while freshman setter Jesus Echevarria (San Juan, Puerto Rico) and junior setter Ivan Andujar (Carolina, Puerto Rico) combined for 68 assists for the Blazers in the victory.
After splitting the first four sets, the two teams produced a
thrilling fifth set.
The Blazers led 5-3 following a kill from sophomore outside hitter Carlos DeLeon-Gomez (Carolina, Puerto Rico) before Newbury junior middle hitter Mark Thomas (Wilbraham, MA) answered with a pair of kills to tie the set at 5-5.
The teams then swapped the next two points before kills by freshman middle hitter Vincent Cruz (Harwinton, CT), Sanchez Velez and a Newbury attack error gave the Blazers a 9-6 lead.
The Nighthawks then used a 4-1 run over the next five points to
tie the set at 10-all.
A pair of kills from Bravo and another by Sanchez Velez pushed the Blazers' advantage to 13-10.
Although Newbury would pull to within 14-13, DeLeon-Gomez would seal the victory with a kill - his third of the set and 15th of the match.
Thomas was nearly unstoppable for Newbury in the title match, as
he finished with a match-high 29 kills and hit .356, junior outside
hitter Josh Aberly (Palatine, IL) added a double-double with 10
kills and 11 digs, and sophomore setter Matt Talamantes (Sylmar,
CA) handed out a match-high 52 digs and also added seven kills and
No. 2 Newbury defeats No. 3 Endicott, 3-0 (30-25, 30-24, 30-26)
The Nighthawks cruised to the title match by sweeping
third-seeded Endicott in the semifinal earlier in the day.
Thomas hammered out a match-high 17 kills and Talamantes dished out a match-high 45 assists for the Nighthawks, who hit .362 for the match (54-16-105), including a sizzling .486 in the second set.
Endicott (22-13) received a team-high 13 kills from junior middle blocker A.J. Witkofsky (Scotia, NY) and junior setter Ben Foster (Penfield, NY) finished with 38 assists.
Championship - Saturday April 11, 2009 at Elms College
No. 2 Newbury vs. No. 1 Elms, 3:00 p.m.