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Men’s volleyball falls to Penn State in EIVA tournament to conclude season




The men’s volleyball team has reached the end of its season, after its 0-3 loss on Wednesday to the Penn State Nittany Lions on the latter’s home court in State College, Pa.

The odds looked against the Tigers (11-13 overall, 6-6 Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association) from the beginning, as they had little luck against the defending champions both in past seasons and now. This loss in the EIVA tournament semifinal round marks the fourth straight year that the Tigers have had their season ended by the Nittany Lions.

Adding to the rough outlook for the Tigers was the fact that Penn State continued to show off its dominant form this season, both against the Tigers and other EIVA opponents. The Nittany Lions (19-9, 12-0) went into this game ranked No. 6 in the nation and had won both matches against the Tigers in the regular season, 1-3 and 0-3.

However, the Tigers showed their mettle, putting up some solid performances on the game before bowing out. They came out raring to go in the first set, going up early on 10-5. An 8-3 run in response by Penn State brought the game back level, at which point these two teams began to go tit for tat. Neither team could gain a lead of greater than two, until Penn State grabbed a 21-18 lead and managed to slowly press down on the Tigers from there. Despite Tiger efforts, the Nittany Lions took the first one 25-20.

The second and third sets, with scores of 25-17 and 25-10 respectively, did not feature the same Tiger burst to take the lead as the first one had. While the Tigers managed to stay close with their opponents for the early stages of the game, Penn State busted the lead wide open, turning what was a deficit of 2 at 10-8 into one of 7 at 18-11. The Tigers would never get closer than 6 thereon as Penn State rode that momentum to victory.

The final game was a tough one for the Tigers, as the home team jumped on them from the beginning and did not let up. Leading by as much as 11 in the early stages, Penn State continued to roll as the Tigers would ultimately fall 25-10.


It seems that throughout the game, consistent offense was a problem for the Tigers, as they hit at just .105 for the game – well below their mark of .262 for the season. On the other side, the Tigers had to deal with a world-class performance from Penn State outside hitter Aaron Russell, the EIVA’s reigning player of the year. Russell racked up 19 kills and 5 service aces on the game.

With this loss, the Tigers will say farewell to seniors libero Tony Ensbury, setter Conor Dube, middle blocker Will Siroky and outside hitter Cody Kessel. Siroky and Kessel will go out on the high note of having received All-EIVA honors this season — Siroky on All-EIVA Second Team, Kessell All-EIVA First Team. Ensbury, for his part, was on the All-EIVA First Team in the 2014 season.

Dube is a former associate photo editor for The Daily Princetonian.

Kessel in particular has finished a career at Princeton few will repeat. He has helped bring his team to four straight trips to the postseason in his time at Princeton and has been All-EIVA First Team in each of those years. One of the highlights in his time at Princeton came against Penn State, where the Tigers earned a thrilling victory 3-2 over the Nittany Lions in Dillon Gymnasium. Kessel’s performance in that game was sensational, as he went off for 14 kills and 2 services on the day.

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