BOSTON, Mass. – Emmanuel College senior outside hitter Erik English (Simi Valley, Calif.) blasted a career-high 26 kills Tuesday evening to power the fourth-seeded Saints past visiting fifth-seeded Lasell College, 3-2, in come-from-behind fashion in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) men's volleyball quarterfinal on Andy Yosinoff Court.
The hosts won the first set, 25-12, but Lasell rallied with 25-20 and 25-21 victories in the next two sets to take a 2-1 lead. Emmanuel would not go down easily, forcing a fifth set with a 25-22 decision in set four, and outlasted the Lasers in a hotly-contested fifth set, 15-10.
The Saints defeated the Lasers for the third time this season, improving to 21-12 overall, while upset-minded Lasell completes its season at 13-17 overall. Emmanuel, which had defeated Lasell 3-1 in the previous two matches this season, moves on to a semifinal match at top-seeded and regular season champion Rivier University (23-7, 14-0 GNAC) on Thursday, April 11, at 7 p.m.
English added 15 digs along with his match/career-high 26 kills for the senior's ninth double-double of the year. He also added three aces and now has 85 on the year to lead the nation among NCAA Division III.
Junior Seamus McDonagh (Long Beach, N.Y.) finished the night with 54 assists, marking the third time this season he's posted a 50+ assist match. Junior Justyn Schueler (Trumbull, Conn) added 15 kills in the win while junior libero Max Gottuso (Long Beach, N.Y.) was stellar defensively with a season-high 18 digs in the victory.
Junior Scott Sterenberg (Oceanside, N.Y.) and senior David Anthony (Cranston, R.I.) paced the Lasers with a team-high 13 kills each while senior Andy Henriquez (Lawrence, Mass.) and sophomore Conor Leary-Watson (Bethany, Conn.) added 11 kills each. Henriquez also dished out 42 assists while collecting 15 digs for a strong all-around performance in the final match of his career for Lasell.
Senior Jordan Aprea (Newington, Conn.) also went out with his head high, posting a match-high 20 digs while adding eight assists for the Lasers.
The Saints took an early lead in the first set, 7-3, with two kills and a service ace from Schueler. The Lasers capitalized on the Saints' errors towards the middle of the set and tied the score, 11-11, before the Saints took the lead with a kill from Schueler, a bad set, and an attack error, 14-11. Schueler and junior John Carroll (Massapequa, N.Y.) continued the offensive attack for the Saints to close the set out, 25-22.
In a competitive back and forth a second set, the two teams were point for point through seven until the Lasers took the lead on an attack error and a service ace by sophomore Dillon DeSouza (Enfield, Conn.), 9-7. An attack error and a kill from McDonagh of EC tied the score, 9-9, and the two teams continued the point for point trend continued through 16. The Lasers broke away on a kill by Leary-Watson, 17-16, and kept the lead for the remainder of the set closing it out, 25-20.
The point-for-point trend continued in the beginning of the third set, 8-8, until the Lasers went ahead on kills from Sterenberg and Henriquez, 10-8. The Lasers extended their lead by one, 11-8, before the Saints went on a go-ahead run with back to back kills from Schueler, a kill from English, a service ace, and an attack error, 13-11. The Lasers tied it up with a kill from Sterenberg and two attack errors, 13-13. Lasell took the lead with offensive attack powered by Leary-Watson and Anthony to close the set out 25-21.
Despite the Saints' early lead, 4-1, the Lasers were able to regain the advantage after tying the game at seven with a kill from Sterenberg, a kill from Henriquez, and an attack error, 10-7. A four-point run led by Carroll and English of EC tied the game, 18-18. The two teams went point for point through 20, until the Saints went ahead on attack errors and kills from English and Schueler to come from behind to close the set out, 25-22.
The two teams were evenly matched through eight, before the Saints took the lead on a kill from McDonagh and a kill from English, 10-8 and never looked back. A Lasell kill by Henriquez pulled the visitors to within one at 11-10 but the host squad answered with four straight points to close out the night with a 15-10 fifth set win to take the match, 3-2.
(Courtesy of Emmanuel Athletic Communications)
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