Follow us on Instagram
Try our daily mini crossword
Play our latest news quiz
Download our new app on iOS/Android!

No. 15 men’s volleyball secures another road win at NJIT

Six players in orange and black huddle together after winning a point.
Men's volleyball huddling during match vs NJIT.
Photo courtesy of Go Princeton Tigers.

On Saturday, the No. 15 Princeton men’s volleyball team (10–9 overall, 3–3 Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association) secured a commanding 3–1 victory over one of their oldest rivals, the NJIT Highlanders (8–12, 0–5), gaining some much-needed momentum as they dive into the last quarter of the season.

After the Tigers came out firing with six kills to go up 10–6 in the first set, the Highlanders fought back and continued to trade points. Down 20–22, the Tigers powered through to score the five consecutive points to win the set, including a kill by junior hitter Nyherowo Omene — assisted by junior setter Henry Wedbush, an ace from senior hitter Ben Harrington, and a fine defensive effort on the outside by a first-year duo, hitter Jameson Vaccaro and middle blocker Tristan Whitfield.


The Tigers rode their momentum with a 6–0 start to the second set, and they continued to dominate the scoreline throughout. Despite a late push by the Highlanders to make it a three-point game at 22–19, the Tigers safely secured a 25–20 second-set win, requiring one more to win the match.

It was the third set, however, that surprised the Tigers, with the Highlanders winning their first and only set of the night. The Tigers lost four consecutive lost points late in the set, and brought the set to 18–21 in favor of the Highlanders, having in large part to do with NJIT outside hitter Antonio Feliciano’s powerful serves. To break the point streak, junior libero Matt Suh and Wedbush set up Harrington for an important kill.

This crucial point meant that Harrington, who is averaging a nation-leading nearly 0.7 aces per set, was now up to serve. His second serve was initially ruled out, but he immediately rushed to Head Coach Sam Shweisky to challenge the play. His instincts turned out to be correct, marking his 49th ace of the season and tying the set at 21.

But the Highlanders responded with two kills of their own, and down 22–24, the Tigers called a timeout to reconvene. After fighting back with an NJIT service miss and an Omene kill, bringing the set to a 24–24 tie, the Tigers forced the Highlanders to take a timeout of their own. An unfortunate service miss and a fierce exchange of spikes meant the Tigers narrowly missed out on a sweep, as a 24–26 loss sent the match to a fourth set.

“The loss in the third set lit a fire in the team,” Wedbush told The Daily Princetonian. “We had the right mentality going into the fourth set.”

Indeed, the Tigers defensively shut down the Highlanders in the fourth set, with a dominant 25–15 scoreline. The Tigers opened up with a quick 3–0 lead with kills from Harrington and Whitfield, and then extended their lead to 9–3 after three more kills and commanding blocks by senior middle blocker Gavin Leising and Vaccaro. The Highlanders called a timeout, and although they scored three more points of their own, the Tigers showcased a determined focus that could not be matched. Wedbush, for instance, served his first ace of the match and another one right after, bringing the tally to 14–8.


The Tigers breezed through the rest of the set, and at 24–15, Harrington stepped up to serve. With the most service aces in the country this season, it only made sense for him to serve his sixth ace of the night — and 51st of the season — to bring an end to the match.

“I thought our defensive grit was our overall key to winning the match,” Wedbush added. “Especially our blocking systems which allowed us to contain their offense.” The Tigers’ blocking was a big part of their game — they completed 15 blocks compared to NJIT’s 10.

The Tigers continue their travels with a big game this Saturday against the George Mason Patriots (13–7, 3–2), who sit one place above the Tigers in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA). A win could see them move up in the EIVA standings, and the Tigers last few games of the regular season will go a long way in determining their place in the conference.

“We’re really looking to fine tune our brand as a team and how we choose to compete when representing Princeton,” Omene said after the NJIT game. “George Mason consistently brings a lot of competitive pressure whenever we play them.”

Get the best of ‘the Prince’ delivered straight to your inbox. Subscribe now »

Having already swept the Patriots 3–0 at Dillon Gymnasium earlier this season, Omene added that it is “definitely on us to make sure we maintain our brand of volleyball and competitiveness in order to collect another crucial conference win.”

Bryant Figueroa is a Sports contributor for the ‘Prince.’

Please send corrections to corrections[at]