Freshman Cody Kessel figures to be a strong candidate for EIVA Newcomer of the Year honors, but it was his two classmates who earned Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week honors after helping drive the volleyball team into the postseason.
Career efforts by both Will Siroky and Tony Ensbury helped Princeton to 3-2 victories over both NJIT and George Mason last week, and both were mandatory in sending the Tigers to State College this week for the 2012 EIVA Championships. Siroky earned the EIVA Offensive Player of the Week honors, while Ensbury earned the Defensive Player of the Week honors.
Each of Princeton's three freshman starters have now earned the EIVA weekly honor once this season; Kessel earned it in late March after recording a career-high 31 kills in a 3-2 comeback win over Juniata.
Siroky was at his best during Saturday's road win against the third-seeded Patriots. He set a career best with 16 kills, and he didn't make a single error throughout the five-set marathon. He hit .727 for the match, and he added three digs, two aces and two blocks. He ended the week with 23 kills and hit .556 in the two wins.
Ensbury, the starting libero from the first day of the season, also set a career high when he recorded 17 digs in the 3-2 road win at George Mason. He received 66 serves at a .985 percentage (one error), and he kept Princeton in points in several key spots. He added 13 digs in the comeback over NJIT and averaged 3.0 digs per set last week; for comparison's sake, the EIVA digs leader averages 2.8 per set.
Princeton earned the fourth seed in the EIVA playoffs and will take on host Penn State in Thursday's 7:30 pm semifinal. The last time the two teams met, Princeton earned eight match balls before Penn State rallied for a 3-2 win, including a 37-35 victory in the fourth set.
Penn State has won each of the last 13 EIVA championships; the last team other than the Nittany Lions to win the EIVA was Princeton, who took the title in 1998.