Princeton's first victory over Penn State since 1998 helped the Tigers claim two individual honors Monday. Junior outside hitter Cody Kessel earned his second straight EIVA Offensive Player of the Week honor, while freshman setter Chris Kennedy was named the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week.
While the victory over 10th-ranked Penn State was certainly the highlight of the week, it was only one of three Princeton home victories in EIVA play. Princeton opened a six-match homestand with a 3-0 win over Rutgers-Newark last Tuesday, and it capped the week with a sweep of Saint Francis Saturday night.
During the week, Kessel averaged 3.5 kills and 4.3 points per set. He had double-digit kills in all three matches, including 14 with six digs and five blocks in the 3-2 comeback win over Penn State. One night later, he had 13 kills on 19 swings and hit .632 in the sweep of fourth-place Saint Francis.
Kessel, a 2013 first-team All-EIVA honoree, now ranks second in the EIVA in both kills (3.44) and points (4.1) per set; both totals also rank in the Top 25 nationally.
Kennedy came off the bench against Penn State and recorded 40 assists while leading the Tigers to their first win over the Nittany Lions in 36 attempts. The Tigers hit .429 in the decisive fifth set against Penn State, and they hit .468 for the match in the Saturday night win over Saint Francis. Kennedy also served Princeton on a couple of key runs against the Nittany Lions, and he had at least three digs in each match last week.
Princeton joined both Penn State and Harvard as the three teams in the EIVA with one league loss. Each of the three has lost on the road to another of the three teams (Penn State at Princeton, Princeton at Harvard and Harvard at Penn State). The Tigers, who have played two fewer matches than both teams, can get to within a half game back of first place Tuesday night when they host NJIT (5-6, 0-5 EIVA) at 7 pm.