The Princeton men's volleyball team has shown the ability to play with the best teams in the nation, but it hasn't put enough quality play together to finish off its first win of the season. Despite taking the first two sets Saturday night, Princeton fell 3-2 to the 15th-ranked Ball State Cardinals.
The loss dropped Princeton to 0-4 on the season, but the Tigers know better play late could have made a world of difference. Princeton has lost three straight five-set matches, and two of them were decided by 15-13 scores.
Saturday night, however, was not one of the two. Princeton fought off two set balls in the fourth to even the score at 24-24 and force Ball State to call a timeout. The Cardinals got back-to-back kills on the next two points to force a fifth, and they controlled that from the start for a 15-4 victory.
Princeton got 13 kills apiece from junior Cody Kessel and sophomore Devin Stearns, whole senior Pat Schwagler had 10 kills, nine digs and six blocks in the near upset. Freshman Chris Kennedy had 47 assists, while classmate Junior Oboh had nine kills and six blocks.
The Tigers, who fell 3-2 to formerly ranked IPFW Friday night, sprinted out of the gates to earn wins of 25-21 and 25-19 in the first two sets. Ball State won the third 25-20, and the fourth was close throughout. Neither team led by more than two, and it was Schwagler who put together back-to-back kills to erase the 24-22 lead. But Ball State responded after the timeout, and it carried that momentum into a dominant fifth set.
Princeton will have a chance to bounce back from adversity this week when it opens EIVA play on the road. The Tigers will head to Boston Thursday night to take on reigning EIVA finalist Harvard, and will follow with a Friday showdown at Sacred Heart.