The Princeton men’s volleyball team took a major step towards the EIVA postseason Saturday afternoon, knocking off Saint Francis 3-1 to complete its final full road weekend of league competition.
The 25-20, 20-25, 25-20, 31-29 victory completes a season sweep of the Red Flash, which currently stands fifth in league play. The top four teams make the EIVA postseason, and Princeton now leads Saint Francis by two matches in the loss column with three to play and holds the head-to-head tiebreaker between the two.
Saint Francis made a big push in the fourth set, rallying from a 24-21 deficit to force extra play. The Red Flash actually had four set balls, but Princeton fought each off and finally regained the lead at 30-29. Freshman Junior Oboh made sure that would be the final time, as he blocked Mike Marshman for the match winner.
While a freshman made the final play, head coach Sam Shweisky relied on his senior leadership to produce the crucial win, as each of his tri-captains had key performances. Reigning All-East first-teamer and tri-captain Pat Schwagler shared the team lead with 18 points (14 kills, four blocks), while fellow tri-captain Davis Waddell paced the offense with 41 assists.
Junior Cody Kessel led Princeton with 18 kills, including three straight to fight off set balls in the fourth. For the second straight night, the Tigers received efficient play from the middle, as the starting duo of Will Siroky and Junior Oboh combined for 12 kills with only one error.
Princeton will play the next three Friday nights in EIVA competition, beginning April 4 at NJIT (7 pm). The following two Fridays will be a home-and-home series with travel partner George Mason; the Tigers will be on the road April 11 (7 pm), and then will return to Dillon Gym April 18 for its EIVA finale.
George Mason is currently in fourth place in the EIVA, though the Patriots entered the day even in the loss column with Saint Francis.