The Princeton volleyball team, which is currently one spot outside the national Top 15, will make its first trip to the Chicago area as a varsity program early next week when it travels to MIVA championship contenders Loyola and No. 7 Lewis.
Princeton is currently 8-4 this season, 6-2 in the EIVA, and will spend the early days of its Spring Break week playing teams it has seen only once as a varsity program. Granted, those two matches were far apart from each other.
The Tigers will open the two-match trip on Monday at 7 pm CT against the Loyola Ramblers, which is currently the fourth team receiving votes in the latest Top 15 poll. Princeton and Loyola haven't met since the 1998 season, when Loyola scored a 3-1 victory at Dillon Gym. While the Tigers will be looking for a different result Monday night, they'd be more than happy for a similar ending to the season; Princeton's only EIVA championship also came during the 1998 season.
Loyola, which hosts another EIVA team Friday night (Saint Francis), is currently 11-8 but is coming off the biggest win of its season. The Ramblers defeated seventh-ranked Lewis 3-1 Wednesday night, and they already have EIVA wins against No. 15 George Mason, Harvard, Saint Francis and NJIT.
While this will the first meeting between Princeton and Loyola since the Clinton Administration, Tuesday night will provide the first meeting between Princeton and seventh-ranked Lewis since last week. The Flyers defeated Princeton 3-0 at Dillon Gym on March 8; Lewis rallied in the opening set for a 26-24 win, and carried that momentum to hand the Tigers their only home loss of the season.
Lewis is 14-6 on the season, and it had won 13 straight matches before its loss to Loyola on Wednesday. Lewis, which plays Saint Francis Saturday night, has won five straight matches against EIVA opponents, including a home-and-home sweep of George Mason.
"We're excited to bring Princeton Volleyball to the Chicago area next week and take on a pair of Top 20 programs in Loyola and Lewis," head coach Sam Shweisky said. "This will be a great opportunity for our team to face tough competition and prepare ourselves for the second half of the ultra-competitive EIVA season."
While Princeton will be searching for a pair of wins over MIVA opponents, it will also have a couple of opportunities to celebrate the program with both family and alumni. The family of sophomore Will Siroky, a two-year starter at middle blocker, will host the team on Saturday night. The next night, one of Princeton's all-time greats will serve as host.
"Marin Gjaja '91, a former All-America and one of the best to ever play here, will be hosting us Sunday night for a Friends of Princeton Volleyball event," Shweisky said. "Marin is one of only two All-Americas ever produced by Princeton Volleyball (Derek Devens '98 is the other) and the driving philanthropic force behind the Morgan McKenzie Men's Volleyball Endowment. We cannot thank Marin enough for all he has done and continues to do for Princeton Volleyball."
The dinner is scheduled to begin at 7 pm, and is open to all Friends of Princeton Volleyball. For more information or to RSVP, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.