A night after being swept by eventual champion Concordia in the semifinals of the Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic, the Princeton men's volleyball team came away with a 3-0 win of its own against UC Santa Cruz to earn third place in the tournament. Following a season-high 26 kills on Friday, junior Cody Kessel again led the Tigers' offense with 14 kills on his way to making the All-Tournament Team.
While the final result proved to be drastically different than the previous night, Princeton had a similarly slow start. The Tigers trailed the Banana Slugs in the opening set, 9-7, before embarking on a 9-2 run, and eventually winning, 25-13. The orange and black's attack entered the weekend hitting .278 as a team, but was on point in the first set at a .474 rate, headlined by five Kessel kills. The outside hitter was one of seven players from the four schools in the tournament to receive All-Tournament accolades.
UC Santa Cruz -- which finished fifth in Division III in 2013 -- put up a fight in the middle set. Princeton, however, outbattled the Banana Slugs in a 26-24 victory that saw 11 ties and five lead changes. The Tigers never trailed in the final set, as they cruised to their largest win of the season, 25-15.
Princeton begins a six-match home stand against EIVA opponents. The stretch begins Tuesday night at 7 against Rutgers-Newark, and it will include showdowns against both Penn State (Feb. 28) and Harvard (March 8).