The Princeton men's volleyball team knew it had a tough task in its EIVA opener Friday night, and it struggled to find much rhythm in a 3-1 road loss at 2012 league finalist George Mason. The loss drops Princeton to 1-2 overall, though the Tigers will look to even both their league and overall record Tuesday night in its home opener against Rutgers-Newark.
Princeton was led by its outside due of Pat Schwagler (13 kills, four digs) and Devin Stearns (11 kills, four digs), but it couldn't do enough defensively to slow down the Patriots. George Mason hit at least .310 in three sets, including .550 in the fourth, for a 25-21, 25-19, 21-25, 25-15 victory over Princeton.
The Tigers got eight kills, six digs and three blocks from sophomore Cody Kessel, while classmate Tony Ensbury had a team-high 12 digs. The junior duo of Davis Waddell (22) and Jeff Stapleton (20) combined for 42 assists, while senior co-captain Michael Dye had six kills and hit .308.
Princeton found itself in holes in both the first two sets, though it nearly climbed out of the first one. Once trailing 19-15, Princeton got to within 22-21 when a Davis Waddell serve missed the far sideline by the slimmest of margins. Mason took advantage with back-to-back kills to win the set.
Princeton took control of the third set late, thanks in part to service aces by Stearns and Stapleton. A kill by Kessel got Princeton to within 2-1 and seemed to give the Tigers momentum. An early 7-2 run by the hosts took it all away, and Mason was in full control of the fourth for the 3-1 win.
The night was part of the "EIVA Rallies" campaign, which benefits the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. In all EIVA travel partner matches, coaches will wear fedoras or other business casual hats to bring awareness this season.
“The EIVA partnership with Sloan Kettering and cancer research touches every one of us,” said former EIVA Head Coach of the Year Sam Shweisky. “We all know someone who has been touched by cancer. I think the EIVA, and all the coaches and players, understand how meaningful it is to support cancer research and the efforts Sloan Kettering.”The EIVA recognizes the utmost importance of fully engaging in the fight against cancer. The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center conducts one of the largest programs of clinical research in the world. Clinical research at the center combines the efforts of laboratory and clinical investigators in various disciplines and departments to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
Please join the EIVA efforts by supporting the mission of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the EIVA. For more information about the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, please visit www.mskcc.org/giving.