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Men's volleyball tops NYU, drops five-game match to Concordia


The one adjective most often used to describe championship teams is the one attribute the men's volleyball team has struggled with all season.


"Consistency is what we need to establish," head coach Glenn Nelson said. "We're not consistent enough to play with physically superior teams."

The irony of the Tigers' season is that there is a pattern to their inconsistency. Princeton (6-6 overall, 5-3 Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association) has dominated its matches against opponents with smaller players along the net and repeatedly struggled against teams with more size. Take the past week for example: the Tigers pounded the NYU Violets (4-6, 3-6) on Wednesday in four games — 15-9, 15-4, 12-15, 15-10.

"[The NYU match] wasn't anything special," senior middle Tom Dowd said.

Princeton made it a special night by answering one of the problems that has arisen throughout the season. Usually poor on serve, the Tigers committed only four service errors in the match. The Violets' 21 errors allowed Princeton to overcome an 84-63 kill deficit on the night.

Freshman middle Dennis Alshuler led the Tiger offense with 22 kills, one assist and one service ace. Senior setter Jason Morrow recorded 57 assists, but was outdone by NYU setter Dominic Griffin, who led all players with 72.

State of mind

In its second match of the week Princeton traveled to Bronxville, N.Y., on Friday for the second leg of its seven-match road trip against Concordia. As has been the case all season, the Tigers were pounded at the net by a more physical team, losing the match, 3-2.


"We were overpowered by their big, huge meatheads," Dowd said of the loss.

The match went back and forth, with Concordia taking the first game, 15-12, and the Tigers claiming the next two, 17-15 and 15-1. In the end, however, Princeton could not lift its play high enough to produce a win.

"They have a lot of size and a lot of jumpers," Nelson said of Concordia's front line.

Concordia rallied from the third game rout to win the last two games, 15-9 and 15-6, capturing the match.

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"We weren't consistent enough to hang with them," Nelson said. "They picked it up and we didn't."

The Tigers will have to find their consistency soon if they hope to stay in the EIVA race and compete with Penn State for a spot in the NCAA tournament. The next test comes Tuesday at George Mason.

The Patriots are similar to Concordia in terms of size and have already defeated Princeton once. The Tigers opened their EIVA season by losing to George Mason at home in a three game sweep. If Princeton hopes to repeat the success of its 1998 Final Four appearance, the Tigers must begin to establish some uniformity over the course of a match.

"We play a couple of good games, but you've got to play three [to win a match]," Nelson said.

Flashes of brilliance

Several times this season, most notably in a home loss to Juniata on Feb. 19, the Tigers played well in two games only to lose three others and the match.

The Tigers do not play another home match until the end of March, so this current road trip has serious implications for seeding in the EIVA tournament. Princeton faces a must-win match against George Mason when it travels to Fairfax, Va., today.