UNION, N.J. (11/4/17) - Four Cougars posted double-digit kills as the top-seeded Kean University women's volleyball team captured their first New Jersey Athletic Conference Championship since 2001.
The title is the first for Head Coach Don Perkins, whose Cougars improve to 28-10 overall and have earned the conference's automatic bid into the 2017 NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Tournament. Allie Desmond finished with 20 kills for the third-seeded Ospreys who fall to 23-11 overall.
Kean won the first two sets by identical 26-24 scores and looked like they were going to sweep Stockton for the championship. The Ospreys had other ideas as Stockton rallied in sets three and four, holding the Cougars to a .122 hitting percentage in set three a -.191 hitting percentage in set four.
Kean put on one of the gutsiest performances in an extremely hard fought final set. The Cougars won the deciding set with their highest hitting percentage of the match at .261, including three kills apiece from Vikki Stec and Brett Harper.
Stockton held a 12-10 lead before Kean closed out the match with five straight points, including Jesse Larkin serving for the final four points of the match.
Stec finished with 16 kills and 10 digs, while Sara Ridgway, Joelle Tondi and Harper all tallied 11 kills. Tondi added 13 digs, while Brianna Calvano finished with 47 assists and 15 digs. Calvano also surpassed 1,000 assists for the season, needing 42 to reach the mark coming into this afternoon's contest. Kortnee Nelson tallied 17 digs, while Julia Fiore finished with 10.
Coach Perkins and the Cougars will have to wait until Monday at 12:30 pm, when the NCAA selection committee releases the bracket to determine who the Cougars first-round opponent will be.