Just when you think you’d gotten a good grasp of the teams and talent in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association, a couple of major shakeups go down.
Keep reading to hear more about one team’s first conference loss of the year and another’s first win, both of which happened in the last seven days.
Match of the Week
Saint Francis def. Princeton 3-1 (25-21, 19-25, 26-24, 26-24)
Not only did this four-set victory mark Princeton’s first loss of the 2019 EIVA slate and Saint Francis’ fourth win in a row, but the last two sets went to extra points, making it the most exciting match of the week in the conference.
Fisher kill gives SFU momentum early in set four! pic.twitter.com/4d07roVJRk— Saint Francis U MVB (@RedFlashMVB) March 2, 2019
Saint Francis’ Michael Fisher, the reigning EIVA Offensive Player of the Week and top kill contributor in the league (4.83 per set), had 18 kills in the match with just three errors to hit .517. Both teams hit exactly .284, but the Red Flash held the advantage in blocking (8 to 4) and digs (26 to 21).
Which is the Best Team in the Conference?
Princeton remains on top of the EIVA standings with a 6-1 record, but with the Tigers suffering their first conference loss to Saint Francis, which is on a bit of a roll, having also knocked off George Mason on Feb. 24, it’s tough to say exactly which team is the best in the conference.
Saint Francis has league losses to Harvard and Penn State, and George Mason ranks second to Princeton in the standings, but, with losses to both Princeton and Saint Francis, it’d be hard to pick the Patriots over either of those two teams. (Although apparently the coaches who vote in the weekly AVCA poll would—George Mason remains ranked No. 14 in this week’s poll, the only EIVA team to crack the top 15. Princeton received votes.)
More than a month remains in the regular season, and George Mason will get a second crack at Princeton on March 29 and faces Saint Francis for the second time on April 6. Both of those matches are ones to mark on your calendar as having major seeding impacts for the EIVA tournament.
At 5-2, Penn State could also be in the running, but recent results have seen the Nittany Lions unable to sneak a set away from George Mason and fall to Princeton in four.
Charleston Scores First Conference Win of the Season
Charleston is winless no longer, thanks to a 3-1 victory over Harvard on the Golden Eagles’ home court in West Virginia on March 1. The match marks not only the first league win for Charleston this season but also the only time in program history the Eagles have beaten Harvard.
UC tallied 12 total blocks and held Harvard to a .125 hitting percentage. Eugene Stuart led the Golden Eagles’ offense with 12 kills and setter Diego Villafane collected 40 assists.
The very next night, however, Harvard gained its revenge, taking a 3-1 victory to even the season series at 1-1.
Player of the Week: Eugene Stuart, Charleston
A 6-6 middle blocker from Nassau, Bahamas, Eugene Stuart contributed in a major way to Charleston’s upset of Harvard last week.
His 12 kills led the team and tied his season high. He also added a block and an ace.
Complete EIVA Results
Charleston def. Harvard 3-1
George Mason def. Sacred Heart 3-0
Saint Francis def. NJIT 3-0
Princeton def. Penn State 3-1
Saint Francis def. Princeton 3-1
Harvard def. Charleston 3-0
George Mason def. Sacred Heart 3-1
Penn State def. NJIT 3-1