EIVA Notebook: Mason Roars Out Of The Gate

The 2019 men’s volleyball season has official begun, and each week, we’ll be bringing you updates and storylines from the EIVA men’s volleyball conference. 

Last week, six of the eight EIVA teams kicked off their seasons, taking on tough, and oftentimes highly-ranked, non-conference opponents. Here’s what you missed from the week’s action and what to look forward to next week. 

Watch the EIVA Postseason Tournament LIVE right here on FloVolleyball, April 18-20, 2019.

Charleston 

Opening Weekend Results: L 0-3 vs. Ohio State (17-25, 18-25, 15-25)

Nothing like opening the season with a match versus the three-time reigning MIVA champion Ohio State. In new Charleston head coach Mike Iandolo’s inaugural regular season competition, the Golden Eagles were significantly out-played by the preseason No. 8-ranked Buckeyes, falling 25-17, 25-18, 25-15.

Notable Performances: Maarten Bartels, a sophomore outside hitter from the Netherlands who is in his first season of NCAA volleyball, led Charleston with eight kills and a block versus Ohio State. Freshman setter Diego Villafane from Lake Mary, Florida, took over the starting setter position following the graduation of 2018 setter Anthony Rivera and finished his first collegiate match with 19 assists and three digs.

Coming Up: This week, Charleston travels west to face Lindenwood and McKendree. 

George Mason

Opening Weekend Results: W 3-0 vs. Queens (25-16, 25-12, 25-11); W 3-1 vs. Barton (25-18, 25-22, 19-25, 25-16)

The only EIVA team to win even one match last week, George Mason emerged from opening weekend with two road victories under its belt, a sweep of Queens College of Charlotte and a four-setter over Barton, which was picked No. 1 in the Conference Carolinas’ preseason poll. 

Notable Performances: Langston Payne, a 6-5 redshirt senior middle blocker in his third season as a starter, tied with teammate Hayden Wagner for the match-high nine kills versus Queens, and did so with no errors boasting a sizzling .818 hitting percentage. Freshman libero Keenan Trevor led all players with 11 digs in his first collegiate start. Wagner, who added six blocks in the Queens match, continued to star in the next match, tallying 15 kills and three blocks versus Barton.

Coming Up: This weekend, the Patriots host the Uvaldo Acosta Invitational Tournament and will face Erskine and UC Irvine.

Harvard

Opening Weekend Results: L 2-3 vs. UC Santa Barbara (19-25, 25-22, 25-21, 14-25, 7-15) ; L 2-3 vs. CSUN (25-21, 25-19, 32-34, 20-25, 12-15); L 0-3 vs. Long Beach State (16-25, 18-25, 22-25)

Despite pushing two ranked teams to a tie-breaking sets at the annual ASICS Invitational Tournament in Santa Barbara, Harvard couldn’t come away with a win in the first weekend of the 2019 season. Against No. 10 UCSB, the Crimson earned a 2-1 lead but lost control of the momentum in the fourth and fifth sets. The next night, facing No. 11 CSUN, Harvard won the first two sets but after losing the third 32-34, it couldn’t stop the CSUN comeback. And versus No. 1-ranked Long Beach State, the 49ers held Harvard under 20 points in all but the final set.

Notable Performances: Setter Matt Ctvrtlik played a steadying role throughout all three matches, tallying 32 assists versus UCSB, 39 versus CSUN, and 17 versus LBSU. In the UCSB match, Griffin Schmidt led with 13 kills and added seven digs and five blocks. Six-foot-eight freshman Campbell Schoenfeld also played a key role in the Crimson offense, collecting at least eight kills in each of the three matches.

Coming Up: Harvard hosts Canadian team Laval from Quebec City for back-to-back exhibition matches on Wednesday and Thursday of this week and then welcomes UC San Diego to Malkin Athletic Center on Saturday. 

NJIT

Opening Weekend Results: L 0-3 vs. Purdue Fort Wayne (17-25, 24-26, 20-25); L 2-3 vs. Ball State (20-25, 17-25, 25-22, 25-21, 10-15)

NJIT kicked off the 2019 season facing two tough opponents on the road, and despite launching a valiant comeback to push its match with Ball State to five sts, ended the weekend winless. 

Notable Performances: Reigning EIVA Freshman of the Year Alvaro Gimeno tied for the team-high six kills and led the Highlanders with eight digs in the straight-set loss to No. 14 Purdue Fort Wayne. He once again led NJIT with 11 kills versus Ball State. Middle Luca Berger’s eight blocks helped the Highlanders earn a 12.5 to 11.5 blocking advantage in the second match of the season.

Coming Up: The NJIT squad will escape the cold New Jersey winter this weekend and travel to Manoa, Hawaii, for the Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Warrior Classic where the Highlanders will face Hawaii, USC, and Concordia Irvine — two of which were ranked in the AVCA preseason top 15. 

Penn State

Opening Weekend Results: L 1-3 vs. Ohio State (13-25, 25-20, 21-25, 24-26)

Just like Charleston, Penn State faced only Ohio State on the road over opening weekend. And like the Golden Eagles, the Nittany Lions were defeated by the No. 8-ranked Buckeyes. After being crushed in the first set, Penn State managed to rebound and win the second, but the significantly more efficient Ohio State offense won out in sets three and four.

Notable Performances: Two-time All-EIVA First Teamer redshirt junior opposite Calvin Mende had 18 kills and a pair of blocks to lead the Nittany Lions, while redshirt senior Matt McLaren contributed on both sides of the ball, as well as behind the service line, finishing the match with 11 kills, eight digs, and an ace and a block.

Coming Up: Penn State stays home this week and will play host to North Greenville of the Conference Carolinas on Saturday.

Princeton

Opening Weekend Results: L 1-3 vs. Pepperdine (10-25, 13-25, 25-19, 20-25); L 0-3 vs. UCLA (17-25, 24-26, 18-25); L 0-3 vs. Ball State (22-25, 21-25, 18-25); L 0-3 vs. Purdue Fort Wayne (21-25, 24-26, 18-25)

Princeton got a jumpstart on the season and traveled to California to face Pepperdine and UCLA on Dec. 30 and Jan. 2, respectively, but we’ll lump it all into “opening weekend” for simplicity’s sake. The team picked first in the EIVA preseason poll had has a tough start, facing three top 15 ranked teams (and one receiving votes in the national poll) and coming out winless. 

Notable Performances: Three juniors — George Huhmann, Parker Dixon, and Greg Luck — produced most of the offense in Princeton’s first four matches of the season. Dixon has totalled 52 kills so far, 40 for Huhmann, and 22 for Luck. Huhmann boasts the best percentage, sitting at .321 heading into this week’s matches.

Coming Up: After two weeks on the road, the Tigers return home for matches versus UC Irvine and Erskine before taking the following weekend — the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday — off.

Sacred Heart

Opening Weekend Results: N/A

Sacred Heart chose not to kickoff its 2019 season until this Friday, when the Pioneers host UC San Diego. 

Saint Francis

Opening Weekend Results: N/A

Saint Francis also starts its season late, hosting its season-opener on Friday versus Emmanuel College during the Red Flash Invitational Tournament, which will also feature Daemen and Alderson Broaddus. 

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