Men's Volleyball Prepares For Crucial Home Weekend In EIVA Play
Having played seven of its first eight matches on the road, the Princeton men's volleyball team will finally get to host a weekend of EIVA competition, as Sacred Heart and Harvard will come to Dillon Gym this weekend.
Princeton currently shares third place in the EIVA with George Mason, though it has already played more than half of its league road matches. The Tigers split last weekend, which started with a 3-1 win over fifth-place Saint Francis. That win could prove critical down the road, as only the league's top four will make the playoffs.
The Tigers concluded the weekend with a competitive 3-1 road loss at No. 9 Penn State, which included Princeton's first victorious set in State College since 1998. Princeton nearly pushed the match to five sets, though Penn State did finish the win 27-25 in the fourth set.
Princeton got a big boost over the weekend from freshman outside Devin Stearns, who had 27 kills with only six errors and added 17 digs and six blocks during the Tigers' road split. Stearns now ranks third on the team in points per set, though junior Pat Schwagler continues to lead the entire EIVA with 4.9 per set.
The top four teams in the EIVA (Penn State, Harvard, Princeton and George Mason) are a combined 5-0 at home against each other. The only team that has yet to face one of the others in its home gym is Princeton, though that will change this weekend.
First up for the Tigers will be Sacred Heart in a Friday night showdown (7 pm). The Pioneers are 2-9 overall, 1-5 in the EIVA, though they did grab their first league win last weekend at Rutgers-Newark. Brad Borsay led the team with 13 kills that night, while Benjamin Thomas added 34 assists.
The 14th-ranked Harvard Crimson, which ended Penn State's run of four straight unbeaten EIVA seasons, come to Dillon Saturday at 4 pm. The Crimson have won four straight in the series, and they are led by D.J. White, who had 13 kills and hit .500 in Harvard's 3-0 home win over Penn State. Harvard is only a half-game out of first place entering the weekend.