With several returning starters and a talented incoming class that could feature as many as three starters during league play, the Princeton men's volleyball team was picked to finish fifth in the 2012 EIVA preseason poll, which is voted on by the league coaches.
The Tigers are coming off two seasons that varied dramatically, and they'll be certainly looking for a season closer to the 2010 one. In the first year of head coach Sam Shweisky, Princeton went 15-10 and earned the second seed in the EIVA playoffs. The Tigers knocked off George Mason in the conference semifinal to reach its first championship match since 1998; Princeton led eventual NCAA finalist Penn State for much of the opening set before falling in a hard-fought 3-0 match.
The script flipped last season, as Princeton lost the close matches it once won and ended with a 3-19 record. The Tigers finished seventh in the division and missed out on the postseason.
With the return of starters Scott Liljestrom (senior setter), Michael Dye (junior middle), Jeff Stapleton (sophomore outside) and Davis Waddell (sophomore rightside), Princeton will be looking to get back into the postseason. That will be more challenging this season, as the postseason field has gone from eight to four with the new EIVA configuration. Instead of two divisions, the conference will have all eight Division I programs in one division (see teams in the preseason poll below).
Shweisky, the 2010 EIVA Coach of the Year, is especially excited to see how his freshman class integrates with the team.
2012 EIVA PRESEASON POLL
1. Penn State (7)
2. George Mason (11)
3. Sacred Heart (21)
4. Saint Francis (22)
5. Princeton (24)
6. Harvard (30)
7. NJIT (40)
8. Rutgers-Newark (41)