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Princeton men's volleyball vs. IPFW, Princeton, NJ, January12, 2018.

By Beverly Schaefer

In its final home game of the season, Men’s Volleyball took George Mason University to five sets but were unable to close the deal, falling two sets to three.

Despite facing a George Mason team boasting an undefeated record in EIVA conference play, Princeton got off to a hot start, winning two of the first three sets. The first set was tightly contested, with Princeton sealing a 25–23 win on a kill from senior middle blocker Junior Oboh. George Mason dominated the second set, opening the set on a 12–4 run en route to an eventual 25–11 win. Princeton would rebound in the third, winning another close set 25–22. Sophomore outside hitter Parker Dixon notched the set-clinching kill to give Princeton a 2–1 set lead.

The Tigers were unable to get the third set they needed to seal the win, as George Mason came back to win the final two. The fourth set was closely contested for much the game before George Mason closed on a 9–2 run to win the set 25–18, bringing the overall game score to 2–2. That momentum carried over to the final set for George Mason, who took an early lead and held on to win the set 15–9, and with it, the game.

As has often been the case throughout the season, Princeton was led in kills by sophomore middle blocker George Huhmann, with 17. Oboh led the team in blocks with six, and freshman setter Joe Kelly contributed 43 assists. George Mason was led by star outside hitter Hayden Wagner, who had 19 kills.

Even in defeat, Princeton demonstrated its ability to compete with the best team in its conference, a team that the Tigers may see again in the postseason. Currently, George Mason is first and Princeton is fourth in the EIVA standings, making a EIVA semi-final rematch between the two teams very possible.

First, however, the Tigers will have to get there. With a 5–5 conference record, they hold a two game lead over both the University of Charleston and St. Francis University, who both have 3–7 conference records. Princeton will conclude its regular season with four games on the road. Next weekend, Princeton will travel to New England to face Harvard and Sacred Heart University before traveling to Pennsylvania the following weekend to take on Penn State and St. Francis. Regardless of their opponents, if Princeton can build on their strong showing Saturday, they have good reason to feel confident about their chances.

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