QUINCY, Mass.- Led by All-Tournament Team performers Kayla Dean (Lansdale, Pa.), Courtney McCarthy (Merrimack, N.H.), and McKenzie Walling (Rock Hill, S.C.), the Eastern Nazarene College women's volleyball team clinched the 2017 ENC Invitational title with a pair of victories Saturday afternoon at the Lahue Physical Education Center.
The Lions swept Newbury 3-0 to earn a spot in the championship match. Eastern Nazarene rallied past Mount Ida in a five-set thriller to prevail in the title contest.
With the two wins, the Lions improve to 3-1 on the season. The Nighthawks slipped to 0-3 with the result and the Mustangs dropped to 3-1 overall with the loss.
Dean posted 62 assists and 14 digs while McCarthy finished with 22 kills on the day and Walling paced the home team defensively with 30 digs. Jenna Meacham (Millington, Mich.) racked up 20 kills, 26 digs, and nine aces on the afternoon. Joanna Joseph (Brockton, Mass.) added 18 kills in the two matches.
In the final round-robin matchup, the Lions cruised past the Nighthawks in straight sets.
Eastern Nazarene prevailed in the first set 25-18 in the opening frame before doubling its advantage to 2-0 with a 25-11 win in the second.
The Lions posted a 25-14 victory in the third game to clinch the match.
The hosts edged the Mustangs in a back-and-forth, five-set thriller to claim the championship, 3-2.
Eastern Nazarene dropped the opening set 25-16 then clawed back to level the match at 1-1 with a 25-22 decision in the second game.
Mount Ida reclaimed a one-set lead with a 25-22 win in the third frame.
The Lions triumphed in the fourth set 25-21 to bounce back again to even the score at 2-2.
Eastern Nazarene narrowly edged the Mustangs 15-13 in the deciding fifth game.
"I'm super proud of the way our team battled hard all weekend, especially today. Our fans were awesome tonight and that gave our group tons of energy," said head coach Derek Schmitt. "The team has worked extremely hard throughout preseason and we look forward to getting back in the gym next week."
Up next, Eastern Nazarene returns to action September 5 to host Eastern Connecticut State.