Junior Pat Schwagler recorded 24 kills and six blocks to lead the Princeton men's volleyball team to a thrilling 3-2 road victory at NJIT Friday night in Newark, N.J. Princeton hit .350 for the match and raced out in the fifth set, but the Highlanders battled back to make for a dramatic conclusion.
Princeton put together a 6-0 run early in the fifth set, culminating with a block from Schwagler, to open a 7-2 Tiger lead. The Highlanders would get back into the decisive set with a 4-0 run and closed the score to 9-8, but Princeton continued to side out from that point and eventually grabbed a 14-11 lead on a Schwagler kill and a service error.
NJIT came back with two points to cut the deficit to 14-13, and Princeton head coach Sam Shweisky called timeout to set up a final play. Whether it would have worked will remain unknown, as NJIT's Trevor Kinaman put the next serve into the net to end the match.
The victory moved Princeton to 3-2 overall, 2-1 in the EIVA, and opened a two-match win streak for the Tigers. The Tigers' lone league loss came at George Mason, which is the only unbeaten team in the EIVA following Penn State's 3-0 loss at Harvard Friday night.
"I was really pleased with Pat's offensive performance tonight," Shweisky said. "He and Davis Waddell had a great rhythm, and it was great to see the way he played tonight."
While Schwagler, a former EIVA Offensive Player of the Week, controlled play with his .513 attack percentage, he wasn't the only efficient hitter for the Tigers. Sophomore rightside Cody Kessel had 15 kills and five blocks, while freshman outside Devin Stearns added 12 kills. Sophomore middle Will Siroky added six kills and six blocks, and he matched Michael Dye with a pair of aces.
Serving would not be a strong point for Princeton, though. The Tigers had 26 service errors to go along with their five aces, which played a large role in keeping the match close, despite Princeton's edge in kills (60-52), blocks (13.5-5) and attack percentage (.350-.274).