NEW YORK, N.Y. (2/22/14) – The Kean University men's volleyball team had a fantastic day in the New York on Saturday; the Cougars knocked off No. 5 Nazareth College in dominant fashion and then took down No. 2 Rivier College in an epic five-set duel.
Junior Bez Arslani (pictured left) set a new school-record with a .676 hitting percentage in the match against the second-ranked Raiders. His 27 kills were one shy of the single-match school-record as well. He was named to the Baruch Invitational All-Tournament Team after racking up 39 kills in the two matches and swinging to the tune of .569 against some of the best competition in the country.
In their first match against Nazareth, the Cougars (9-6) won a tight set in the first 28-26, but then won the next two sets rather convincingly by identical 25-17 margins. Arslani led the way with 12 kills, but Kean setter Ron Dunn (33 assists) was able to spread the offense around. John Cunningham and nine play enders, Ed Jedziniak had eight and Kyle Farley and Tommy Rosario had four apiece.
The Rivier match was the real meaty story, however. Arslani went off, as he swung 37 times and made just two errors. His 27 kills in that match gave him a .676 hitting percentage; both of those marks are the best of any Cougar this season.
The Raiders took the first set by four, but again the Cougars came back and won the next two sets with relative ease. Kean kept feeding Arslani, who was the only hitter on either team to post a hitting percentage over .300 in more than 10 attempts.
Michael Fox deserves credit for his 17 digs in the match, and Jon Bowser came through with a pair of aces for the Cougars. Dunn's 55 assists were also the second-highest single-match total in Kean history.
In the fourth set, Kean fell in potentially heartbreaking fashion 29-27, but rather than shrinking from the moment the Cougars rallied for a 15-12 victory in the fifth and final set to clinch the upset and seal perhaps the most impressive single-day result in the program's short history.
Rivier fell to 9-3, and Naz is now 7-5.
The Cougars will host the John Jay College of Criminal Justice inside Harwood Arena at 7:30 p.m. on Monday.