By Alyssa Davis
The Kean University men’s volleyball team won all four of their matches on opening weekend at the Kean Winter Classic to start the 2015 season with an undefeated, 4-0 record.
In their first match at the Classic, the Cougars went toe-to-toe with Elmira College. After Kean won the first set 27-25, Elmira responded with a win of their own, 24-26. Kean came back to win the third set, 25-18, but, Elmira had an answer to that as well, winning the fourth set, 24-26. In the final set of the match, the Cougars went 15-13 to secure the win.
In the second match of the event, the Cougars shut out Brooklyn College three games to none, winning the sets 25-4, 25-1, and 25-12, respectively. Kean then hosted Endicott College in the third match of the weekend. After losing the first set 24-26, the Cougars came back to win in straight-sets, 25-21, 25-20, and 25-23.
In the fourth and final match of the event, the Cougars defeated Johnson & Wales University three sets to one. After winning the first two sets, 25-10 and 28-26, Johnson & Wales won the third set, 30-32 before Kean rallied to earn a 25-14 victory in the fourth to secure the win.
Head Coach Charlie Ginex has high hopes for his team after their impressive start.“We will be very good this season but, with a lot of tests along the way,” Ginex said. The tests, as the second-year head coach referred to, are the 13 nationally-ranked teams that the Cougars have ahead of them this season.
The sixth-ranked Kean Cougars come back this season after going undefeated in the Skyline conference (14-0) and making it to the quarter-finals of the NCAA tournament in 2014.
“We have a very different team this year compared to last,” Ginex said. “We have five seniors, one junior, no sophomores and nine freshman, making the majority of our team young players.” Although the Cougars roster is compiled of mostly underclassmen players, they only lost one senior starter from last season’s team.
“We are a great combination of returning experience and young talent, so it will be a fun season seeing how it all comes together come late April,” Ron Dunn, team captain, said. Dunn also commented on the great chemistry among the members of the team, saying that they are all friends off the court making them a better team on the court.
The Cougars are practicing eight to twelve hours per-week in preparation for the matches ahead of them. “My coaching staff and I want to be able to say ‘we are better this week than we were last week,’ and if we are able to do that, the sky is the limit,” Ginex said.