Newark, N.J. (1/27/12) – The Kean University men's volleyball team suffered a five-set loss in their season opener to Division I Rutgers-Newark (25-20, 25-21, 18-25, 18-25, 15-17) Friday evening.
Senior outside hitter Christian Portera led the way with 10 kills and a pair of assisted blocks while freshman setter Alex Barnhard (pictured left) notched 34 assists. The balanced Kean attack had junior outside hitter Steve Vahalla and freshman middle hitter Kyle Farley with seven kills apiece and freshman right side Ed Jedziniak and senior outside hitter Sam Haimann with six each.
Portera had five kills as Kean posted sideout percentages of 66.7 (14-21) and 71.4 (15-21) to grab a 2-0 lead. Portera, Haimann and Farley had three kills apiece in the second frame as the Cougars hit .391 (11-2-23). The Scarlet Raiders turned the momentum in the third set and forced a tie-breaking fifth set after posting indentical 25-18 set scores in the third and fourth set. There were five ties and three lead changes in the fifth game with a block by Farley and Portera giving Kean match point at 14-13. But a Cougar service error was followed by a Newark block to give the Scarlet Raiders their first match point. A Raider attack error knotted things at 15-15 before Newark closed out the almost two hour match with two straight points.
Kean begins Skyline Conference action with a dual match on Saturday at New Jersey City University.