Poughkeepsie, NY| The St. Joseph's College (L.I.) men's volleyball team saw its remarkable 2018 season come to a close on Friday evening when it was defeated 3-1 by #4 Kean University in the first round of the NCAA Division III Men's Volleyball Championship.
The Golden Eagles finish the year with a 23-9 record as the Cougars, now at 34-2 overall, advance to the quarterfinals where they'll face site-host Vassar College for the right to move on to the national final four.
Despite jumping out to an early 5-1 lead in the first set, SJC dropped a nailbiter, 26-24.
Kean carried its momentum into the second set, where it kept the Golden Eagles at bay en route to a 25-16 victory.
St. Joseph's made it a 2-1 match with a 25-21 win in the third, but a relentless Kean side used a 6-2 run to take the fifth set 25-21 and the match with it by a 3-1 scoreline.
"I'm very proud of my team, they played their hearts out," said SJC head coach Bill Kropp. "We're a second-year program and I think we gained respect."
After going 10-0 and dropping just one set in Skyline Conference play this season, the Golden Eagles claimed a conference title in only their second-ever season. The championship earned them an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
"It was an amazing opportunity to come out here and go four sets with the No. 4 team in the nation," said Jones following the final collegiate contest of his career.