Men’s volleyball takes strides to capture 2016 conference title

by Sara Ridgway

It is that time of year again as the men’s volleyball team takes the court for their sixth season in school history. With the success and growth of the program since its inception in 2011, this season is projected to be another
one for the books, like past years.

Led by Senior Tommy Rosario, eight sophomores and seven new additions to the
program, Coach Charlie Ginex has visions of success for his team. Ginex, assisted by prior players and Skyline Conference champions Michael Fox and John Cunningham, has a positive outlook for the season, which began on Jan. 4th.

The Cougars returned to campus early from winter break on Jan. 4th to begin pre-season training in Harwood Arena. Ginex spoke highly of the teams preparation, knowing that hard work, teaching and learning were going to be
key aspects for the season.

“I thought we had a really good preseason,” Ginex said. “We came in knowing there was going to be a lot of work to do because we are as young as we are.”

A key to the team’s anticipated success is the addition of Ginex’s
new assistant coaches. Young and energetic, Fox and Cunningham bring
different personalities to the gym as well as their vast understanding of volleyball, providing the balance needed for a successful coaching staff.

“They were the guys that were there in year one and two,” Ginex said. “So they’re the ones that knew what it was like to come from nowhere and build
something up.”

With the majority of the squad consisting of underclassmen, the pressure has been on to step up and fulfill new positions. Ginex has much confidence in 6’9” freshman Chadd Jones.

The Pennsylvania native plays the position of middle blocker and has seen action in over half of the Cougars matches thus far this season as per the Kean University athletics website.

“I would say he‘s definitely the most improved guy in our gym right now,” Ginex
said. “So that’s helping us and it’s giving us options because if he can get on the court, that may allow us to move other players to different positions which can therefore make the team better as a whole.”

Along with Jones, Ginex believes senior Tommy Rosario and sophomore Nick Breslin have stepped up to make a difference in the program. Rosario, a senior middle blocker brings three years of experience on Kean’s nationally ranked team to the 2016 season.

Between his experience he brings to the court and his increased vocalization, he has emerged as a leader. Breslin is a standout to Ginex due to his passion for the sport, leadership and improvement.

The 5’7” libero brings to the gym exactly what a young team needs, as per
Ginex.

As part of the Skyline Conference, Kean’s biggest rival is Ramapo College, with New Jersey City University close behind. Ginex remarked that the NJCU Knights have been playing better and better every year.

“I think the gap has closed in our conference significantly over the last few years,” Ginex said. “Its going to be a good race this year for the conference championship. It’s going to be competitive.”

The team lies at a record of 6-5, but even with a bit of a bumpy start to the season, Ginex has confidence in his young team to achieve success. Staying focused, positive, and motivated are only a few of the many values he and his coaching staff have infused into the culture of the program.

“I think it’s a good thing for us to keep focused on what the big picture is and that’s not necessarily winning today or winning tomorrow; it’s how much better can we get throughout the entire season,” Ginex said.

“Staying disciplined and working hard every day, paying attention to detail and focusing on the learning process will equate to long term success.”

Ginex believes that one of the reasons behind the programs continued success is the support received by their fan base. He encourages students to attend home matches, especially the home match against conference rival Ramapo College on Sunday March 20th at 11:00 a.m. Another date to put on the Calendar is March 23, which is the team’s Senior day.

With continued hard work and dedication, Ginex believes that Kean could be named Skyline Conference Champions for the fifth year in a row, as well as making an appearance in the NCAA Tournament for the fifth year in
a row.

“We would be able to say that we are one of two teams that’s done that,” Ginex said, in reference to reaching NCAA play for the fifth consecutive season.

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