Men’s volleyball primed for another winning season
By Cameron Beall | Published Jan. 29, 2018
Coming to yet another successful season, expectations are high for Kean men’s volleyball heading into this upcoming year. Head Coach Charlie Ginex won ECAC Coach of the Year and three players were named to the Skyline All-Conference teams, two of which are returning players.
Since the inaugural NCAA Division III Tournament in 2012, Kean men’s volleyball has won their regular season conference, conference tournament, and has earned a berth into the NCAA tournament. They look to do the same for a sixth straight year, however, they are certainly hoping for a different end result.
“I feel that this year we have more of a special team and that we could potentially win the Division III title,” said junior outside hitter Brandon Lee.
Last year, the Cougars were bounced in the first round of the NCAA tournament after being defeated by defending national champion SUNY New Paltz by a score of 3-2.
The Cougars’ success comes despite years without senior, veteran leadership. Now with four seniors and five juniors leading the way along with a talented group of younger players, the sky seems to be the limit for this team.
“For a while we didn’t have any veterans,” said junior libero Zach Lynne. “This is our first year in a while that we’ve had some leadership so we’re really stacked with some seniors, juniors and sophomores.”
The upperclassmen are not only leading the way for this experienced team, but also paving it for the young and talented players on the roster. They are teaching and helping in ways that take some pressure off of the coaches. This is a major key in maintaining their success and sets a culture for their program.
“I feel that the upperclassmen really give good information and good technique on what the freshmen are doing wrong and how to help make them better,” Lee said.
Ginex is very aware of what he has with this group of seniors, and knows he is lucky to have a team who help one another such as this one.
“Those guys bring things to the table you can’t teach,” said Ginex. “It only comes with experience and I think having seniors on your team is something that any coach will tell you is a very valuable asset any day.”
While the players may have national championship aspirations, Ginex has different goals in mind. While he would love to win Kean’s first ever national title, he has a bit of a simpler approach to this season. With expectations so high, he isn’t trying to get his team too caught up in them.
“I’m more concerned about how we’re improving each and everyday and how we are growing as a team,” said Ginex. “If we continue to have fun playing the game that we love and work hard doing it and stay focused, then all the other stuff is going to come as a by-product.”
The Cougars will begin their quest for a national championship against Mount St. Vincent on Friday, Jan. 19 at 4 p.m.