UNION, N.J. (2/12/17) – The No. 7 Kean University men's volleyball team completed an excellent comeback against SUNY Polytechnic Institute and swept away Emmanuel College to earn a Sunday sweep. The Cougars won the final six sets they played.
The first match of the day against the Wildcats was an incredible back-and-forth affair, and SUNY Poly actually scored more points than the Cougars in the match.
Kean fell behind 9-3 in the first set, but caught up to the Wildcats at 18-18. Still, Poly scored the final five points of the set to win 25-21 in the opener. SUNY Poly also took the second set by a 25-18 final and out-hit Kean in that one .357 to .115.
In the third, the two sides fought to a 23-23 tie – the sixth time the score had been knotted in the third set, though Kean had not yet been ahead at any point. A kill by Ian Capp and a combo block by Kamil Garbowski and Nick Buseski helped to spark the third-set win and the Cougar comeback.
In the fourth, Kean scored eight points in a row with Jacob Kauffman serving, making the count go from trailing 12-16 to up 20-16. Still, the Wildcats battled back to force extra points – there were 11 ties and eight lead changes in the set. The Cougars won 28-26 with Nico Mercadante serving and Jared Warner and Kevin Barrow teaming for a block.
Kean leapt out to a 7-2 lead in the deciding fifth set, with Warner (pictured left) serving five points in a row. The Cougars kept the Wildcats at a distance the rest of the set to win 15-11 on a kill by Kauffman to complete the epic comeback bid. Kean faced down two match points and lived to snatch the victory.
Buseski finished with a team-best 12 kills, while Jacob Milnazik hit .300 for the Cougars' best number in that column. Nick Breslin had 13 digs, While Warner, Garbowski and Buseski split 19 kills nearly evenly – Warner led the team with seven. The entire match featured 31 ties and 15 lead changes.
Max Szuba and Connor Schultz combined for 27 kills for the Wildcats.
Though Emmanuel topped SUNY Poly in straight sets in the middle match of the tri-match, Kean had little trouble putting away the Saints 25-16, 25-22, 25-20 in the finale.
Dylan Flor paced the offense with 11 kills and a .471 attack percentage. Ian Capp handed out 22 assists and led the team with two aces, while Breslin had six digs. The second set did feature 14 ties early on, but none after 16-16 as Kean pulled away for the win.
The Cougars (10-3) will make a trip to New England next weekend, first at Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Friday and then on to Nashua, New Hampshire for two matches on Saturday.