They’re young, hungry and poised to win.
The 2012 edition of Kean’s Men Volleyball starts its season at Rutgers-Newark at 7 p.m. tomorrow. And the 13-member team is positive and excited about the prospects for success in only its second year of existence.
“We’re a two-year program and we’re twice as deep as we were last year so I’m truly confident,’’ Head Volleyball Coach Don Perkins said. “So, for example if one of our players is having a bad day, I can say with a degree of certainty we can send another player in who can get the job done.’’
Perkins said the team goal is to win at least 20 of the 36 contests on the schedule. The team won’t play its first home game until February 8 against The College of Mount Saint Vincent.
“We have a good group of athletic players who are excited about playing the game at a high level,’’ Perkins said. “As a coach, that’s pretty exciting.’’
He added that his main objective is to ensure that the team focuses on the basics.
“The core of this game is about serving and passing,’’ Perkins said. “If we don’t do the basics, it’s hard to do anything beyond that.’’
The Skyline Conference Coaches’ Preseason Poll picked Kean to finish second among the conference’s teams. The team is returning seven players who saw action during the team’s first season last year.
Sophomore Tom Kemmerle, a defensive specialist for the team, is among those returning.
“I’m much more confident because we have more depth and our middle hitters are blocking a lot better,’’ Kemmerle said. “We also have many talented freshmen joining the team.’’
Last season’s team finished with an 11-23 record, including a 4-8 mark in the North East Collegiate Volleyball Association Metro Division.
Kemmerle called last season’s freshman season “frustrating’’ but he’s predicting that the team will win at least 28 of its 36 games this year.
His teammate, freshman Alex Barnhard, is thinking big as well.
“I’m looking forward to playing New Jersey City University and Ramapo College, which is considered the best in the conference,’’ said Barnhard, who comes to Kean from Old Bridge High School, one of the most highly regarded and top ranked high school volleyball teams in New Jersey. “I want Kean to take over that title this year. Once our team chemistry comes together I think we’re going to have a great season.’’