The Princeton men's volleyball team may not have had the perfect California trip, but it will leave knowing that it went toe-to-toe with a pair of nationally ranked squads.
One night after a season-opening 3-1 win at 12th-ranked UC Santa Barbara, the Tigers fell by the same score to the 13th-ranked Toreros of UC San Diego. Through the first three sets, the host squad had only a one-point edge throughout the match, but the Toreros did take control in the fourth to earn their fourth win of the season.
Princeton was again led by junior Pat Schwagler, who had 14 kills and a .286 attack percentage. Sophomore Cody Kessel added 11 kills and 12 digs, while both middles Will Siroky and Michael Dye added seven blocks apiece. The junior duo of Davis Waddell (24) and Jeff Stapleton (14) combined for 38 of Princeton's 41 assists, while libero Tony Ensbury had 10 digs.
Princeton was in danger of getting swept by UC San Diego, but made a push late in the third set. Trailing 19-17, the Tigers got kills from Kessel and Dye, and then an ace by Dye, to grab a one-point lead. A Schwagler kill and a pair of attack errors gave Princeton a set ball, and a Torero service error finished the win.
The Tigers tried to carry that momentum into the fourth set, but the Toreros took over midway through and ran off a 6-2 run to lead 17-12. Princeton fought off three match balls before UC San Diego finished the match.
Princeton will now return home and open EIVA play on Friday, Feb. 8, with an intriguing matchup at George Mason. The Tigers won at Mason in the 2012 season finale to clinch a berth in the EIVA postseason, though it was the Patriots who made it to the championship match.