Nighthawks Win the 2008 ECAC North Championship for 2nd Straight Year

Nighthawks Win the 2008 ECAC North Championship for 2nd Straight Year

The Newbury College Nighthawks men’s volleyball team has won the 2008 ECAC North Championship Finals today on their home court. This is the Nighthawks fourth successive appearance in the finals of the ECAC’s, and second straight Championship victory, having won their first Championship in the 2007 season.

In the first semi-final match of the day, the Newbury College Nighthawks took on the Mavericks of Medaille College. The Nighthawks came out strong, hitting a .444 clip as a team and sweeping Medaille in three sets; 30-26, 30-16, 30-22. Newbury’s middle hitter Mark Thomas (Wilbraham, MA/Minnechaug Regional) and outside hitter Bryan McDermand (Palatine, IL/Montini Catholic) were forces on offense with 11 and 10 kills respectively. Thomas hit an impressive .550 clip, and McDermand wasn’t far behind that with a .529. Running the offense for the Nighthawks was Matthew Talamantes (Sylmar, CA/Viewpoint) who collected 39 assists, 4 kills, and 4 digs in the match. Also playing a strong match for the Nighthawks were freshman libero Michael Biuso (South Setauket, NY/Ward Melville) who protected the Nighthawks on defense with a match-high 10 digs, and senior outside hitter Erik Kostanski (Hampden, MA/Minnechaug Regional) who played well all around, coming up with 6 digs and 8 kills.

The Mavericks were lead by sophomore outside hitter Ryan Metz (Cheektowaga, NY/Maryvale) who had a team high 11 kills. Splitting time at the setter position were Drew Lewandowski (Kenmore, NY/Kenmore West) and Ryan Maxwell (Amherst, NY/Sweet Home) who combined for 33 assists and 9 digs. Also playing well for the Mavericks was their libero, Dan Jackson (Hamburg, NY/Hamburg), who picked up 7 digs.

The second semi-final match of the day had the second seeded Rivier College Raiders battling the third seeded Endicott College Gulls. Rivier opened the first game of the match with a 31-29 win over the Gulls, however the Gulls rebounded to defeat the Raiders in the next three games, winning the match 3-1. A.J. Witkofsky (Scotia, NY/Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) was unstoppable for the Gulls with 29 kills, while hitting a remarkable .510 clip. Benjamin Foster (Penfield, NY/Penn) had a match-high 63 assists in the four sets, and libero Dan Coleman (Millis, MA/Millis) scooped up 15 digs in the match. Endicott hit a .375 clip as a team.

Rivier saw fine all-around play from Jared Andreozzi (Barrington, RI) who had a double-double with 13 kills and 14 digs in the match. Also impressive in on offense were twin towers Matt Ferreira (Lincoln, RI) and Scott Wright (Salem, NH) who had 18 and 17 kills. Racking up 56 assists on the day was sophomore setter Zach Hansen (Shelton, CT).

The final match-up of the day saw the Nighthawks take on the Gulls for the Championship. The teams played even in the first set, until the Nighthawks, tied at 21-21, went on a run and pulled away to 28-24. The Gulls were not going to finish quietly though as they went on a comeback run of their own which ended with B.J. Worth (Londonderry, NH/Londonderry) tying, and then winning game one for the Gulls, 30-28, with three consecutive service aces.

After that wakeup call in the first set, the Nighthawks came back strong and dominated the next three games, winning the Championship, 3-1. The Nighthawks were lead by the outstanding play of senior outside hitter Kostanski and sophomore middle hitter Thomas, who combined for 43 kills in the final match. Talamantes and McDermand also played excellent in championship match with Talamantes picking up 62 assists, 4 kills, and 13 digs and McDermand producing a double-double with 14 kills, 10 digs, and 5 blocks. Kostanski (right, with Newbury’s Athletic Director Peter Centola) had a total of 29 kills, 11 digs, and 5 total blocks in the tournament and was selected as the 2008 ECAC Championships Most Outstanding Player.

The Nighthawks finish the 2008 season as the NECVA New England Champions, the 2008 ECAC Champions, and with their best record and best national ranking in Newbury men’s volleyball history, at 33-10, and ranked 6th in the nation for Division III Men’s Volleyball. NECVA New England Coach of the Year, Newbury’s David Hildebrandt (7th season) had this to say about his season, “This is a great way to end our best season ever, with another Championship and setting a record for the most wins in a season. It’s a great way to send our seniors out on top. With a group of young men like this, it makes coaching very easy!”