The men’s volleyball team claimed the top spot in the EIVA with two wins this Friday, Mar. 3, and Saturday, Mar. 4, in their doubleheader against Charleston. The Tigers (6-2 EIVA, 7-7 overall) swept the Charleston Cougars (0-7, 7-10) in their first meeting and followed that impressive performance by edging out the Cougars again in a hotly contested fifth set the following day. The win puts the Tigers level with nationally ranked Penn State in the EIVA.
The Tigers opened Friday’s game with a dominant display of depth and balance. Indeed, five Tigers recorded five or more kills in the Princeton victory. The Princeton squad opened the first set with a comfortable 25-18 victory and never looked back. While the visitors managed to put more pressure on the young home team, the Tigers showed their resilience in tough moments and held off the Cougars’ efforts.
Much like in previous matches, the freshman class showed their impact. Outside hitters Parker Dixon and Greg Luck combined forces for 16 kills, while middle blocker George Huhmann led the defensive effort with five blocks. The freshmen seem to have integrated seamlessly with their veteran counterparts, playing a large role in all of Princeton’s conference match ups.
Other notable performances came from junior middle blocker Junior Oboh who tallied an impressive eight kills without an error and added four blocks.
Although Friday’s match was a rather one-sided affair, Saturday’s match turned into a surprise thriller. The match opened in Princeton’s favor with the Tigers managing to grab the first two sets. However, just as the match appeared to be a replay of Princeton’s earlier victory, the momentum of the game quickly shifted.
Charleston battled back against the Princeton side, managing to edge them out with a narrow 25-22 victory. They carried this momentum into the next set, scoring a comfortable victory over the Tigers with a score of 25-18.
However, the Tigers were prepared for a grueling fifth set. Indeed, this was the fourth time since conference play opened that a game had gone to the final set. Princeton managed to fend off the Cougar’s resurgence to win the match with a 15-11 victory. With this win, the Tigers have tied Penn State for the top spot in the EIVA. Sacred Heart is behind the two leaders, but have a game in hand.
The Tigers will continue conference play with their next match against NJIT on Friday. Princeton beat NJIT earlier in the season at home, but will now travel to other campuses for crucial league match. This will be the last conference match before a four-game non-league stretch. They will then face Penn State after Spring Break.
With the top spot of the EIVA on the line, these next couple games will certainly not be ones to miss for any fans of Princeton volleyball.