Men’s volleyball ends strong season in NCAA Quarterfinals
Players lined up before match
By Krzysztof Kucza
After a hard-fought and successful season, the fifth seeded Kean Men’s Volleyball team ended their 2015 campaign, as they lost to third seeded SUNY New Paltz in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Men’s Volleyball Championship on April 24.
The Cougars fought hard, but fell in four sets (16-25, 25-18, 18-25, 17-25).
Kean struggled to get into a rhythm early which ultimately caused them to fall in the opening set. Kean bounced back as they won the second set thanks to a well balanced offense and great ball control, committing only one error during the set.
The third and fourth set saw a different play style by New Paltz as they made some key adjustments to slow down Kean after their great second set.
The Hawks also got their offense up and running, after hitting their worst percentage in the game during that second set, and Kean struggled to stop them.
“Right when we thought we had them on the ropes, they came up and just switched it up on us and moved things around,” explained senior right side hitter Ed Jedziniak. “They were just consistent, and a team that is consistent like that they can just go and go.”
Blocking was yet again something Kean prevailed in registering. They totaled 10 blocks in the match compared to just two by SUNY New Paltz.
After receiving his First Team All-American award the night before, senior outside hitter Bez Arslani lead all hitters with a team high 10 kills while hitting .250%. Middles Kyle Farley and Tommy Rosario had seven kills apiece while hitting .538% and .214% respectively.
This is the fourth year in a row that Kean has been in the NCAA tournament since the program began five years ago.
“For us to do what we have done four years in a row, I think we are proud of where we are,” preached coach Charlie Ginex. “I’m super proud of these guys, and especially the seniors for the hard work they put in day in and day out. Throughout the season and off season and for us to come out here and battle to have a chance to play with the best teams in the country, we are very proud of that.”
With the loss, the Cougars fall to 31-6 to end their 2015 season which is still the most wins in program history.
The team will be looking to win its fifth conference title next year and make another run at the NCAA tournament. They’ll be doing it without the five seniors that were the core of the team this year.
Senior setter Ron Dunn talked about how it was playing with these seniors for four years: “These guys are my best friends,” said Dunn. “I’ve lived with them for a couple years now and I feel like they are really part of my family. I wouldn’t have it any other way then like going out with them right there with me. I think we had a special bond and this was a great group of guys to play with. I feel honored to have played all four years with these guys.”