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Princeton University men's volleyball vs. Penn State, Princeton, NJ, March 3, 2018.

By Beverly Schaefer

The men’s volleyball team clinched a playoff berth in EIVA tournament after a historic win over Penn State on Friday, April 13. After starting off what appeared to be a disappointing season, the Tigers managed to string a series of victories when it mattered most to bring themselves into the postseason conversation. With its win over the traditional EIVA powerhouses, Princeton has made sure that its thrilling season will continue. 

While the victory over Penn State secured a playoff position for the Orange and Black, it is also notable for another reason. Friday night’s win marked the first time in 32 years that the Princeton squad had managed to defeat the Lions in their home field. It also marks the first time the Tigers have held a two-game win streak over Penn State since the 1998 season, when Princeton won the EIVA title. The decisive sweep of Penn State showed the strength of a Princeton side, which dominated the game in terms of kills, hitting percentage, and assists. 

Sophomore middle blocker George Huhmann recorded yet another remarkable performance. Huhmann notched 19 kills, three blocks, and three digs in the Princeton win adding another noteworthy performance to his already-impressive resume. 

The win also featured a number of strong performances from other Tigers showing the depth of the Princeton team. Sophomore outside hitters Greg Luck and Parker Dixon grabbed eight and seven kills respectively. First-year setter Joe Kelly paced the offense with 31 kills while junior libero Corry Short had one of his best performances of the season with 12 digs.  

The Princeton win, combined with George Mason’s victory over Harvard, seals the EIVA standings. The Crimson and Penn State will meet in the opening semifinal. The Tigers will follow, playing the Patriots. The stage seems set for an exciting postseason as 6 of the 11 matchups between the four schools went to the final set. 

In their last matchup, Princeton managed to push George Mason to the edge forcing a decisive fifth set. The Tigers will need to carry the momentum from their historic win into the postseason as they look for a crucial win in the EIVA semifinals. 

Last year, the Tigers lost to Penn State in the semifinal as the Lions proved too much for a young Princeton team. However, after several impressive displays this season including several historic wins such as the victory over Stanford, the Tigers seem poised to make their mark in the EIVA. 

Fans of Princeton volleyball will not want to miss the Tigers as they play the Patriots this Thursday, April 19. 

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