Winter sports aim for successful upcoming season
By Brittany Pavlichko | Published Nov. 10, 2016
As the fall sports seasons come to a close, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and men’s volleyball are just beginning their new season.
Kean University’s women’s basketball program will start their season with a game Tuesday, Nov. 15 at Brooklyn College. Head coach, Mandy King will be returning for her fifth season with the ladies and looks forward to a great season.
“Our goal is to win the NJAC and to get as far as we can into the NCAA tournament,” said King. “We expect great things from our captains as well as Miesha Bacon, Danielle Oakley, Ruby Asabor and Brianna Burgess.”
The heart and soul of the team are their co-captains, Senior Jaquetta Owens and Sophomore Marajiah Bacon. Marajiah Bacon was the nation’s leading scorer and earned NJAC and National Rookie of the Year honors. Jaquetta Owens was an Honorable mention All NJAC selection and was among the top 50 players in the nation in five statistical categories.
The ladies will also have assistant coach, Brian Erickson and a graduate assistant coach, Dana Peterson.
Last year, the cougars had a 15-11 record and hope to gain a little more success this year as well as having success in the classroom. They are at a 3.0 GPA standing as a team, and hope to achieve a 3.4 GPA by the end of the season.
Men’s Basketball will have their first game on Nov. 15 facing Stevens Institute of Technology. Head coach, Rob Kurzinsky will enter his 10th year coaching for the men. In his coaching career at Kean, he led the cougars to six NJAC tournament appearances. He strives for the team this year to succeed on and off the court.
“Following a 4-20 season last season, we focus on winning each day by making daily improvements and strengthening our culture,” said Kurzinsky. “We are certainly young, but have more than enough skill and commitment to win.”
The 2016-17 roster will consist of the following players: Senior Kevin Grek, Sophomores Mike Summerer, Keenan Williams, Jodrell Thompson, Micah Kerr, Justin Watson, Kevin Pacheco, Inderpaul Pinghlia and Trey Gomez and Freshmen Denzel Washington, Chris Mucthinson and Anthony Gomez.
Furthermore, their coaching staff consists of assistant coaches, Kyle Taylor, Jonathan Jones, Mike Burton and Matt McDuffie.
“Our weight room sessions and basketball sessions will be necessary, but the teaching points of the game will be the things that make our team better than last year.” said Jones.
Men’s volleyball will open their season on Thursday, Jan. 12 facing Endicott College in the Kean Winter Classic. The boys will be back in the gym for preseason in early January.
Head Coach Charlie Ginex will enter his fourth season as head Men’s volleyball coach for Kean. He led the men to three NCAA Division tournaments the past three seasons and his team ended last season with a 31-7 record.
Assistant coaches, Jimmy Pompeo and Ed Jedziniak, both who played volleyball for and graduated from Kean in 2013 and 2016 respectively, will be joining Ginex on the coaching staff this season.
Ginex recruited five freshmen plus a number of walk-ons for the 2016 season. During the recruitment process, he not only tries to bring in great volleyball players, but he also gets to know their families in the process.
11 players are back from last year’s roster and have a lot of talent that they will bring to the new season.
Additionally, Ginex not only wants his team to win the conference championship and advance to the NCAA Tournament, but wants to focus on growing as a team on and off the court.
“We want to be able to look back at the season when it is over and know that we were able to grow, not only as a team on the court, but as young men off the court,” said Ginex.