Women’s Volleyball Sweeps Its Way to ECAC Title

UNION, N.J. (11/16/13) – Senior Kaitlyn Hansen was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament as the Kean University women's volleyball program captured  its first ECAC Metro-Upstate Championship inside Harwood Arena on Saturday. The Cougars swept both the Sage Colleges and Elmira College 3-0 on Saturday to earn the title.

In the Championship Match, Jen Espinal and Hansen combined for a block to tie the first set at 8-all after Kean fell behind early on, and Hansen (pictured left) had another athletic kill to tie the set back up at 10. Alix Denison served an ace at 12-12 to finally give the Cougars their first lead against the Soaring Eagles.

From that point, the Cougars scored 13 of the next 21 points to earn a comfortable 25-18 victory in the opening set. Hansen (.667 hitting percentage) and Aysia Peterson had four kills each, Hansen had two blocks and Denison had two aces in set one. Alana Aranjo dished out eight assists in the set, giving her 1,190 for the year; a new Kean single-season record.

The teams split the first 12 points in the second set until Espinal and Rachael Wells registered back-to-back kills to give the Cougars some breathing room at 8-6. Kean held the lead until a block by Taryn Rumsey and Alicia Day tied it at 12 for the Eagles. Elmira clawed back into the lead at 15-13 and forced Kean to call timeout.

The Cougars methodically marched back to tie it again at 17 on a kill by Hansen, and the set was also knotted at 19 and 20 before back-to-back kills by Hansen and a block by Hansen (of course) put Kean up 23-20. Peterson then had two kills to finish off Elmira and give the Cougars a 2-0 match lead.

Elmira took a 4-0 lead to begin the third set, but Kean pushed back to even it up at 5-all. The set was also tied at 6, 7, 8 and 9 before Wells put one down for an 11-9 Cougar advantage. Peterson served two-straight aces and Denison added a kill as Kean pushed its lead to 15-9.  A great hustle play by Espinal bought the Cougars another point by saving a ball 50 feet from the net that put the team on the way to the Championship. Kean held on for the 25-18 win to cement its Championship season.

Earlier in the day, the Cougars used a dominant hitting performance in the semifinals to the advance to the ECAC Upstate/Metro Championship Game. The team combined to hit at a .310 clip over the three sets, including a .382 hitting percentage in the third and final set. Kean was led by Hansen and Peterson, who had 12 and seven kills respectively. Hansen had a staggering .550 attack mark Aranjo had 24 assists during the semifinal contest.

Kean ends its season with a 24-14 record. Elmira fell to 22-13 and Sage ends at an even 18-18.