Princeton Opens League Play With Back-To-Back Victories

Princeton and George Mason stand tied atop the EIVA standings with identical 2-0 conference records; however, non-conference matches continue to make up the bulk of the competition among EIVA squads. 

George Mason has led the charge in that department, cracking the AVCA top 15 back on Jan. 21 after a defeat of Ohio State and proving its staying power with a sweep of No. 15-ranked Purdue Fort Wayne on Saturday.

Keep reading to get updates on every EIVA team and find out which matches to watch this week.

Charleston (3-9)

Recent Results: L 0-3 vs. Princeton (20-25, 20-25, 16-25); L 1-3 vs. Princeton (18-25, 19-25, 25-20, 22-25)

With back-to-back losses to Princeton, Charleston fell to 0-4 in league play. In the first meeting, Princeton made very few hitting errors, finishing the match averaging a .544 clip, while Charleston only managed to hit .211. The next night, Charleston had nine blocks to hold Princeton to a .323 hitting percentage and take the third set, but ultimately Princeton’s 12 aces helped lead the way to a second victory for the Tigers.

Notable Performances: Maarten Bartels had 13 kills for the Golden Eagles in the second match and tied Brandon Greenway with a team-high six in the first. Setter Chase Johnson had 56 assists between the two matches and led the team’s defensive efforts in the second meeting with five digs.

Coming Up: Charleston returns to non-conference competition this week as they host Queens University of Charleston on Saturday.

George Mason (8-2)

Recent Results: W 3-0 vs. Purdue Fort Wayne (25-20, 25-15, 25-21); L 2-3 vs. Ball State (29-27, 27-29, 25-17, 20-25, 11-15)

George Mason put on an all-around stellar performance in its takedown of No. 15 Purdue Fort Wayne. The Patriots out-blocked the Mastodons nine to two and out-dug them 38 to 29. Making just nine hitting errors in three sets, George Mason hit .419 on the match. 

The Ball State match marked George Mason’s first five-setter of the season. Although George Mason kept things close and even went up 2-1, Ball State eventually earned the W with a six to one serving advantage and a 12 to eight blocking advantage.

Notable Performances: Junior Hayden Wagner, a two-time EIVA Offensive Player of the Week, tallied 20 kills hitting .586 versus Purdue Fort Wayne, in addition to recording six blocks. He then tabbed his first double-double of his career with 20 kills and 11 digs in the Ball State match. 

Redshirt sophomore Jack Reese set the tone at the net, collecting six blocks versus Purdue Fort Wayne and five against Ball State.

Coming Up: A big conference weekend awaits the Patriots as they traveled to NJIT on Friday and Princeton on Saturday.

Harvard (1-6)

Harvard did not compete last week, but will travel to Penn State and Saint Francis this weekend for just its second and third conference matches of the season.

NJIT (3-4)

The Highlanders will play their first match in almost a month today, Monday, Feb. 11, when they host Kean. Then Friday, NJIT faces George Mason in its first conference match of the year. 

Penn State (4-6)

Recent Results: L 0-3 vs. Long Beach State (13-25, 21-25, 15-25); L 0-3 vs. UC Santa Barbara (20-25, 23-25, 21-25)

Penn State traveled to Long Beach, California, for the AVCA Showcase and faced some extremely tough competition. The Nittany Lions hit just .136 in a straight-set loss to No. 1-ranked Long Beach State. The next night, No. 6 UCSB extended Penn State’s losing streak to four in a row.

Notable Performances: Henrik Falck Lauten was the only Penn State player to tally double-digit kills versus LBSU. Cal Fisher led in efficiency, however, as he collected six kills with no errors to hit .545. Matthew McLaren had a team-high 10 kills versus UCSB.

Coming Up: Penn State returns home for back-to-back EIVA opponents this weekend: Harvard on Friday and Sacred Heart on Saturday.

Princeton (4-7)

Recent Results: W 3-0 vs. Charleston (25-20, 25-20, 25-16); W 3-1 vs. Charleston (25-18, 25-19, 20-25, 25-22)

A solid opening to the Tigers’ conference season saw Princeton secure back-to-back victories over Charleston. In the first set of the first match, Princeton hit .722 and only slightly cooled down over the remainder of the match and the next night’s meeting—the Tigers hit .544 on Friday night and .323 on Saturday.

Notable Performances: George Huhmann and Kendall Ratter each had 10 kills on Friday night, while Greg Luck and Parker Dixon led on Saturday with 17 and 14 kills, respectively. Luck also tallied four aces and eight digs in Saturday’s match. 

Coming Up: Circle this match on your calendar—Princeton takes on George Mason Saturday in a battle of the team’s ranked No. 1 and 3 in the EIVA preseason coaches poll. 

Sacred Heart (1-5)

Recent Results: L 1-3 vs. Purdue Fort Wayne (25-19, 23-25, 21-25, 16-25); L 1-3 vs. Ball State (25-17, 25-21, 16-25, 25-15)

Sacred Heart managed to take a set off of top 15 ranked Purdue Fort Wayne and Ball State, but couldn’t come away with a W in either match. On Friday, Sacred Heart and Purdue Fort Wayne hit an identical .312 and the Pioneers out-blocked the Mastodons 11 to five, but Purdue Fort Wayne had six service aces to Sacred Heart’s zero and the Pioneers also committed 15 service errors.

Another very even match saw Ball State out-hit Sacred heart .282 to .149, but maintain a close margin in blocks (11.5 to 12.5), digs (42 to 25) and aces (5 to 5).

Notable Performances: Emerson Waumans led his team both nights with 12 kills against Purdue Fort Wayne and 16 in the Ball State match. Setter Noah Ricchetti collected 36 and 29 assists in the two competitions. Tim McIntosh’s 14 digs led the match versus Purdue Fort Wayne.

Coming Up: This week, Sacred Heart will face conference foes Saint Francis and Penn State on the road.

Saint Francis (6-5)

Recent Results: L 0-3 vs. Hawaii (15-25, 20-25, 12-25); L 1-3 vs. Belmont Abbey (22-25, 25-19, 23-25, 19-25); W 3-1 vs. Queens University of Charlotte (25-22, 21-25, 25-16, 25-17)

This week in practice, it would be safe to bet the Red Flash will be working on serving. With 15, 20 and 21 service errors in its three matches last week, Saint Francis never gave itself a chance to string together a run of points. 

Notable Performances: Michael Fisher led the Red Flash in kills in each of last week’s matches. The redshirt junior, who leads the EIVA with 178 total kills, had a match-high 24 in the Queens match. Hayden Herc led the team’s blocking efforts with four against Belmont Abbey and Queens and two against Hawaii.

Coming Up: Sacred Heart and Harvard are traveling to Loretto this week to take on Saint Francis.

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