Kean and Endicott Set To Play In First Round Match
By Ryan Gaydos
Kean University men’s volleyball is set to play Endicott College in the first game of the Division III NCAA Tournament. Both teams are coming into the match having terrific seasons and are trying to prove why they belong in the next round.
The match was moved to Sunday in Beverly, M.A. because of the shootings in the Boston area Thursday night and Friday afternoon.
Kean is coming off a second consecutive Skyline Conference championship behind senior Steve Vahalla, who won conference player of the year. Vahalla was ranked second in kills per game, hitting percentage and service aces this season in the conference and not to mention third in points per set.
Endicott also has to be aware of sophomore Ed Jedziniak and Kyle Farley who also served on an all-Skyline team this year. Everyone in combination helped Kean win 25 games, including 13 in a row. The Cougars also defeated Endicott in five sets on the Gulls’ home court on March 9.
The Gulls are 22-9 this season and won the New England Collegiate Conference without losing a set. Endicott finished undefeated in conference play this season.
Junior Carter Roche leads the Gulls into this match. Roche was named NECC Tournament Most Valuable Player after a strong performance. Endicott also has three players that served on the NECC All-Conference team; Mike Coniglione, Travis Netherton and John Osborne.
Osbourne is second on the team in kills with 217, trailing Josh Anderson who has 241.
Every set between the Gulls and the Cougars at the Endicott March Mania were close with the Cougars edging them 16-14 in the fifth set. This match in the first round of the tournament is no doubt going to be close.
In Division III men’s volleyball’s early history, Kean is looking to avenge its loss in the inaugural tournament last season. With Endicott looking strong coming in, there is a chance that this game will be tougher for Kean than when the Cougars took down Division I NJIT at the beginning of the year.