The Princeton volleyball team professed all week that it would not look past Saint Francis with a Penn State showdown looming. The Tigers proved that point with a dominant effort in a 3-0 victory, and now they can look forward to a rematch with the 13th-ranked Nittany Lions.
The win basically assures Princeton a spot in the EIVA postseason, but the Tigers can reach for an even bigger goal tomorrow night. A win over Penn State, which would be Princeton's first since its EIVA championship season of 1998, would leave both teams even in the loss column heading into the final three weeks of the season.
The victory also clinches a winning record in EIVA play, the first time Princeton has achieved that since 2003. Princeton is 10-6 overall, 8-2 in league play, and has now won five straight EIVA matches.
Princeton was efficient throughout the 25-16, 25-20, 25-22 win over the Red Flash, which fell to 8-14, 5-6 in the league. The Tigers hit .369 for the match, thanks in large part to a .700 performance from senior captain Michael Dye (eight kills, one error, 10 swings). Junior Pat Schwagler led the Tigers with 11 kills, while freshman Devin Stearns had nine kills and no errors.
Head coach Sam Shweisky was thrilled to write Cody Kessel's name back in his starting lineup. The reigning EIVA Newcomer of the Year, Kessel had six kills, four digs and two blocks in his first match since the loss at Penn State.
"It was great to see Cody back on the floor," Shweisky said. "He brings an explosive energy to our team, and he worked tirelessly to get back after his injury."
Defensively, Princeton got a match-high seven blocks from Will Siroky and five digs apiece from Davis Waddell and Tony Ensbury. Waddell added 38 assists and helped Princeton hit .369, including .517 during the second set.
Princeton will now face 13th-ranked Penn State, which leads the EIVA with a 9-1 record. The last time these teams met at Dillon Gym was a 3-2 thriller last year, when the Nittany Lions fought off eight match balls in a wild 37-35 fourth set. The match will start at 7 pm, and live stats and live video will be available.