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Conference action in the EIVA men’s volleyball conference has hit full stride. This week, the eight teams in the league played six conference matches and a couple of non-conference contests.
Although the season is still young, two teams have risen to the top of the standings after last week’s matches. Keep reading to learn more about the top news in the conferences and which matches to watch this week.
Match of the Week
Princeton def. George Mason 3-1 (21-25, 25-21, 25-19, 25-20)
Heading into Saturday’s match with Princeton, George Mason hadn’t lost a conference match this season and had earned big non-conference wins over Ohio State and Purdue Fort Wayne, both ranked at the time, which put the Patriots in the AVCA top 15 poll.
But with every one of its starters hitting over .300 for a team hitting percentage of .379, Princeton upset George Mason in four sets. Parker Dixon, a 6-foot-6 junior who ranks third in the conference with 3.76 kills per set, led the Tigers with 15 kills, while his classmate George Huhmann added 14.
Princeton may be just 5-7 overall, but the Tigers are 3-0 in conference play, so far living up to their billing at the top team in the EIVA preseason coaches poll. George Mason maintains the better overall record at 9-3, but fell to third place in the EIVA standings behind Penn State and Princeton.
Penn State Does the Injury Shuffle
Penn State’s redshirt junior setter Luke Braswell returned to action on Feb. 9 after almost a month out of commission, accumulating 35 and 19 assists in last week’s EIVA victories over Harvard and Sacred Heart, respectively. In his absence, freshman Cole Bogner shouldered most of the setting responsibilities.
Yet just when the Nittany Lions were celebrating the return of their star setter, they lost another starter. Freshman Cal Fisher sat the bench during both of last week’s matches due to an undisclosed injury. On the year, Fisher ranks fourth on the team with 70 kills, hitting .269.
Redshirt junior opposite Calvin Mende hasn’t played since the BYU match on Jan. 18.
Two EIVA Teams Score Non-Conference Wins
NJIT and Charleston were the only EIVA squads to take on non-conference opponents last week. On Monday, Feb. 11, NJIT swept Kean in a match that was originally scheduled for Feb. 5. Junior Piotr Namiotko led the Highlanders with eight kills and five aces.
Charleston celebrated a 3-0 victory over Queen’s University of Charlotte. Freshman Lachlan Bray led the team with 15 kills and 10 digs.
Player of the Week
Jason Donorovich, Penn State
Six-foot-nine middle blocker Jason Donorovich leads the conference with his .440 hitting percentage and ranks third with 1.00 block per set.
Last week, he had 13 kills with just two errors (.668) versus Harvard, and against Sacred Heart, he had four kills with zero errors (.800) and four aces. In each match, he collected three blocks.
Complete EIVA Results
NJIT def. Kean 3-0
George Mason def. NJIT 3-0
Penn State def. Harvard 3-0
Saint Francis def. Sacred Heart 3-0
Harvard def. Saint Francis 3-1
Charleston def. Queens University 3-0
Penn State def. Sacred Heart 3-0
Princeton def. George Mason 3-1
Top Upcoming Matches
Harvard vs. Princeton
Friday, Feb. 22, 7 p.m. ET
After its upset of George Mason, Princeton is certainly a favorite in this match, but these two Ivy League foes will be playing in Harvard’s home gym, the Malkin Athletic Center and Harvard has been able to push a number of highly ranked teams to five sets already this year.
Penn State vs. George Mason
Friday, Feb. 22, 7 p.m. ET
This match pits George Mason head coach Jay Hosack against his former boss Mark Pavlik. These two teams appear to be well matched and Friday night’s results could have major standings implications.