For much of Thursday night's EIVA opener at Harvard, the Princeton men's volleyball team looked like a squad that could compete with anybody in the nation. Unfortunately, the Tigers left the match feeling the same disappointment it experienced in its first four matches. Despite rallying from a 2-0 deficit, Princeton fell 3-2 to the reigning EIVA finalist in Boston.
Not only did the loss drop Princeton to 0-5 on the season, but the Tigers have now lost four straight five-set matches. Two came last weekend to teams who were either in the Top 15 (Ball State) or just outside (IPFW); Thursday's loss came to another team just outside the Top 15, as Harvard used an effective fifth set to pull out a 25-20, 25-21, 20-25, 12-25, 15-12 victory.
Princeton hit .395 for the match and had more kills, assists, digs and blocks than the Crimson, but it simply had no answer for Harvard in the decisive fifth set. After dominating the Crimson for a 25-12 win in the fourth, Princeton only scored one point off its own serve in the fifth and never led after an early 1-0 advantage.
Senior Pat Schwagler played like the returning First-Team All-EIVA honoree that he is, recording 22 kills and eight digs, while hitting .514 for the match. Fellow outside Devin Stearns had 14 kills with only two errors (.444), while junior Cody Kessel had his best match of the young season with 14 kills, six blocks and hitting .314.
Princeton will look for its first win of the season Friday night at 7 pm when it takes on Sacred Heart. You can find links for both live stats and live video for the match at the top of this release.