Men’s volleyball undefeated in the Skyline

Garbowski and Mercadante set up the block. Photo Courtesy of Sara Ridgway

Garbowski and Mercadante set up the block.
Photo Courtesy of Sara Ridgway.

By Sara Ridgway | Published April 6, 2017

The men’s volleyball team opened Skyline Conference play undefeated, picking up four wins over the course of their first two tri-matches.

The Cougars picked up their first two conference wins on March 19, 2017 against Sarah Lawrence College and Yeshiva University to begin battling for their sixth straight conference title.

Kean swept both teams in three set matches. In each set, neither team could score no more than nine points. The box scores for the match against SLC is as follows: 25-2, 25-8 and 25-3. The box scores for the match against YU is as follows: 25-5, 25-9, 25-9.

“Knowing that it was the first two games of conference play, the team’s mindset started off that we were 0-0,” said sophomore middle blocker Kamil Garbowski. “We are focussing on what’s occurring now instead of what has happened.”

Both SLC and YU had a low number of players present on game day, particularly SLC who only had six players present; just enough to fill the positions on the court without any substitutions.

“We walked onto the court with the intention to become better players than we were yesterday,” Garbowski said. “Even though the competition wasn’t high, we treated the teams as if they were our equal.”

On March 16, 2017 two more wins were added to Kean’s record, including a three-
set sweep over Ramapo College and a four-set thriller with St. Joseph’s College Long Island, whose volleyball program is in its inaugural year. The SJC-L.I. men’s volleyball team’s roster consists of 11 athletes, eight of which are freshmen.

Although they are young, SJC-L.I. put up a fight, pulling out a victory in the first set 25-21. Kean came back to win the next three straight sets 25-15, 25-22 and 25-18, sealing the deal on the win.

Throughout these four matches there were many lineup changes, resulting in every Cougar seeing on-court action.

Sophomore outside hitter Nico Mercadante made his debut in the setting position against SLC and freshman setter Ian Capp played outside hitter against SJC-L.I.

“Each player brings a unique personality onto the court which makes up for a great experience,” Garbowski said. “Lineup changes tend to happen from time to time, however, I wouldn’t say that it’s harder, more like it’s different.”

Junior outside hitter Jacob Kauffman was named Skyline Player of the Week on March 27, 2017 after his performance in three matches the preceding week. In matches against Steven’s Institute of Technology, Ramapo and SJC-L.I., Kauffman racked up a total of 38 kills, 10 aces, 9 digs and one assist as per the Kean University Athletics website.

His hitting percentage stands at .405 for the three matches (11 sets) played.

Since playing on March 16, 2017, the Cougar’s have added two three set wins to their record against New Jersey City University and York College, St. Joseph’s College-Brooklyn, Purchase College, The Sages Colleges and Arcadia University. Their record stands at 22-8 overall and 7-0 in the Skyline Conference.

Kean will travel to the Bronx, N.Y. to play two final conference matches on Friday March 7, 2017.

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