Last week, eight EIVA conference matches went down and the results have fleshed out the standings picture as the season progresses.
The top team in the conference, Princeton, had a fantastic week, scoring two victories and stretching its win streak to five in a row. Saint Francis also went 2-0 over the past seven days, but elsewhere in the conference, the results were much more mixed.
Here’s what you need to know about what went down in the EIVA over the last seven days.
Match of the Week
St. Francis def. No. 13 George Mason 3-1 (25-17, 17-25, 25-20, 25-16)
Strong serving and ferocious blocking led the way for St. Francis in its upset of George Mason on Sunday. The Red Flash collected seven aces to Mason’s two and out-blocked the Patriots 16 to 11.
Redshirt junior outside hitter Michael Fisher, the conference’s leading attacker with 4.76 kills per set and 214 total kills, led the match with 20 kills and just five errors on 36 swings to hit .417. Redshirt junior middle Cole Carver had an incredible blocking match, tallying nine block assists and a solo, helping to hold George Mason to a .118 hitting percentage.
Cal Mende Returns To Action For Penn State
As reported in last Monday’s notebook, redshirt junior opposite Cal Mende hadn’t seen the court since Jan. 18’s match versus BYU, but he made a (mostly) triumphant return to action last week.
In the Nittany Lions’ match versus George Mason, Mende led the team with 12 kills, but couldn’t do enough to help his team avoid a loss in straight sets. He then contributed eight kills, an ace and three blocks in Penn State’s sweep of Charleston on Sunday.
Mende finished the 2018 season ranked second on the team with 233 kills, hitting a very solid .314, so his return to the starting lineup should signal better things to come for the Nittany Lions in the second half of the season.
Player Of The Week
Joe Kelly, Princeton
Princeton’s trio of deadly hitters—Parker Dixon, George Huhmann and Greg Luck—get plenty of attention, and for good reason, but this week, we’re giving sophomore setter Joe Kelly a big shoutout.
The California native quarterbacked his squad to a .379 hitting percentage in last week’s matches. In a four-set victory over Ivy League foe Harvard, Kelly’s arsenal averaged a .434 clip with 53 kills and just 10 total errors. The junior national teamer then had 34 assists in the Tigers’ sweep of Sacred Heart.
On the year, Princeton is hitting .299, second only to George Mason (.305) in the conference.
Record-Setting Night For Harvard
In Harvard’s 3-2 defeat of NJIT on Saturday night, the Crimson set a number of new career highs and added new lines to the program record book.
Freshman libero Jason Shen scooped up 19 digs, signifying not only a new personal career high, but hitting a mark not achieved by a Harvard player since 2014 and tied for seventh-most all-time. It’s the second-best performance in a five-set NCAA match so far this season.
Senior middle blocker Trevor Dow constructed a wall at the net, collecting four solo blocks and 10 total blocks for a new career high in both categories. Those four solo blocks is the most by a Harvard player since 2008 and the third-most all-time. Dow’s total of 10 is the fourth highest number by a Crimson player in the history of the program.
Setter Matt Ctvrtlik dished out 46 assists to tie his career high. A .415 hitting percentage is a new personal best for Griffin Schmit, who led the match with 20 kills. Freshman outside hitter Campbell Schoenfeld posted 16 kills (.333) for his own career performance.
Complete EIVA Results
Sacred Heart def. NJIT 3-1
Princeton def. Harvard 3-1
George Mason def. Penn State 3-0
Saint Francis def. Charleston 3-0
Princeton def. Sacred Heart 3-0
Harvard def. NJIT 3-2
Penn State def. Charleston 3-0
Saint Francis def. George Mason 3-1