Lions travel to Kean University to take place in the Kean Winter Classic

Lions travel to Kean University to take place in the Kean Winter Classic

LOCATION: Harwood Arena (Union, NJ)

THE BASICS: The Lions traveled to Union, New Jersey in their first matches of the season. In the first day of play the Lions lost a tough 5 set match. In the second day of play the Lions won their first match of the day but were unable to defeat the host, going 1-2 for the weekend.

HOW IT HAPPENED:

MSJ vs. Saint Joseph's L.I.

In the first match against Saint Joseph's Long Island, The Lions started off strong. The Golden Eagles put up a fight, keeping the score close in the first set. Tied 23-23, two big kills from Adam Williams (Chicago, IL / Mt. Carmel) gave the Lions the final push to win the set 26-24. In the second set the Lions continued their momentum. The Lions were able to capitalize on their opponents mistakes and didn't look back. The Golden Eagles battled at the end but a kill by Zack Storc (Columbus, OH / Bishop Watterson) gave the Lions the second set 25-22. Early in the third set the Lions struggled to find their groove and found themselves in a hole. Unable to find their offense led to more errors for the Lions resulting in an 25-18 loss of set three. In set four the Lions continued to struggle offensively which lead to a quick deficit. Unable to string points together left the Lions one step behind their opponent. In the final points the Mount earned a run but it wasn't enough to overcome the deficit and dropped the set 25-21. The Golden Eagles earned the early edge in the final set of the match but the Mount was close behind. Errors in the final points gave the Lions their first loss of the season, losing the final set 15-11 and the match 3-2.

MSJ vs. Sage College

In day two of competition the Lions faced the Sage Gators and looked to earn their first win of the season. The Lions found their groove early in the match leading to a big lead. An eight point service run by Andrew Chisholm (Cincinnati, OH / Oak Hills) gave the Lions the first set 25-11. The Gators continued to struggle offensively and the Lions took advantage of their mistakes. A five point service run by Adam Williams gave the Lions the lead and they wouldn't look back. The Mount won the second set 25-14 off of back to back errors by the Gators. In the third set the Gators didn't give up and pushed the Lions. Neither team was able to pull away early. Two big kills by Andrew Chisholm put the Lions ahead 19-16. The Gators battled but the Lions consistent defense held their opponents to take the final set 25-21 and the match 3-0.

MSJ vs. Kean University

In the Lions final match of the weekend they took on the Kean University Cougars. They continued their momentum from their last match to take a quick 8-2 lead. The Cougars wouldn't give up easy and fought back to keep the set close. Every time the Lions would pull of a run the Cougars would counter right back. Multiple errors by the Lions gave Kean the first set 25-22 after the hot start from The Mount. In the second set neither team was willing to give up momentum early in the second set. A four point service run by Ben Holt (Cincinnati, OH / Roger Bacon) gave the Lions the room they needed to steal the set in a dominant fashion, 25-16. The next two sets were very close battles, coming down to the final points. The Lions kept a slim lead halfway through the third set but weren't able to pull away in the final points, losing the set 26-24. In the final set of the match the Cougars led for most of the set. The Lions were able to tie the score at 19 with two big kills from Darien Bradley (Las Vegas, NV / Arbor View). Errors in the finals points gave Kean the set 25-22 and the match 3-1.

THE STANDOUTS: Outside hitter Adam Williams led the offense over the weekend with 34 kills and 8 blocks. Joey Piazza (Cuyahoga Falls, OH / Walsh Jesuit) cleaned up the backrow with 39 digs while Nathan Herdeman (Cincinnati, OH / Elder) dished out 102 assist over the weekend.

UP NEXT: The Lions will travel to Pennsylvania this upcoming weekend with one match on Friday 1/26 and two matches on Saturday 1/27. Be sure to check MSJsports.com for more updates on the Lions season!