Kean University extended their winning streak to 27 matches, cruising to the 2018 Continental Volleyball Conference Championship. The Cougars secured the title against the last team to defeat them, Marymount University. The CVC championship match on Saturday pitted two top-five team teams against each other with #4 Kean hosting #5 Marymount, with the winner taking the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Men's Volleyball Championship and the other hoping for an at-large bid, which will be announced on Monday.
Playing each other for the first time since February 3, the two teams each entered Saturday looking for their first-ever CVC Championship. Kean is in its first year with the conference while Marymount recorded the program's first-ever postseason win the night before in the semifinals.
Much like the first meeting Marymount opened up a lead in the first set, holding an 18-14 edge over Kean, but was unable to close out the win. Back-to-back kills from Kean's Jared Warner got the Cougars back in the set and brought the home crowd to life. The Cougars carried that momentum to a 25-21 win, with the winning point coming on what would be a theme for the match; a Marymount service error. The Saints committed six service errors in the first set alone and would finish the match with 15 miscues.
Kean jumped out to a 15-8 lead in the second set, scoring two of their first three points of the set on service aces. Marymount fought their way back to draw the score even at 19-19 but was unable to grab a lead. Shayron Taylor stopped the Marymount run with a kill and the set would finish how it started with Ian Capp acing a serve for a 25-22 win.
Marymount tried to rally, pulling out a 27-25 win in the third set. Marymount took their first lead since a 19-18 score in the first set when Erich Bratke recorded the Saints' first service ace to put them up 6-5. TJ Wiechecki, who had just three kills combined in the first two sets, came alive in the third set with seven kills including three on his teams first 11 points. Kean made a run, scoring three straight points to close the score to 15-14, but Erich Bratke set Evan Flesher down the middle to stop the Cougars run. The Cougars did eventually grab the lead, taking a 20-19 advantage, but the Saints fought their way to within one point of a set win after a Remington Shahan kill made the score 24-22. The Cougars pushed the set for extra time when they tied it up at 24 each, however, a pair of kills from Wiechecki and a Cougar error would give the Saints a win, making the match score 2-1.
Kean was not looking to go five sets and quickly used a pair of three-point runs and back-to-back blocks to take an early 8-2 lead. The Cougars did not let up, opening up a lead as large as eight points in the set. Marymount made one last push, scoring three straight points to cut the score to 16-11 but were unable to get any closer. Back to back errors by the Saints ended the set at 25-15, and the match.
Kean improves to 33-2 overall and hit .274 in the match including .524 in the decisive fourth set. Nick Buseski led the Cougars with 15 kills while Zarzycki (13) and Taylor (12) also reached double figures. Ian Capp added 45 assists, three aces, five digs, and seven total blocks and was named the CVC Tournament MVP.
Marymount falls to 22-7 overall, hitting .195 as a team, just the fifth time this season they have hit below .200 in a match. Sam Safley led the way with 15 kills while TJ Wiechecki and Eric Wiles each added 11 kills. Erich Bratke finished with 41 assists and Connor Choate chipped in with 11 digs.