PRINCETON, N.J. - Seven times, NJIT served for a 2-0 lead during Tuesday's EIVA showdown at Princeton.
Seven times, Princeton answered. The Tigers built on that resilient effort by winning the final three sets, the first by a 34-32 score, to defeat NJIT 3-1 and improve to 2-1 in league play.
Freshman Parker Dixon posted a career-high 22 kills and hit .515 to lead Princeton (4-6, 2-1 EIVA) to a 23-25, 34-32, 25-21, 25-16 victory over NJIT (5-6, 1-2 EIVA) in Dillon Gym. Dixon led a highly efficient offensive attack for Princeton, which hit .393 for the match, including a .524 effort in the decisive final set.
Two of the EIVA's top hitters in the league put on a show of their own. NJIT's Jabarry Goodridge, the league leader in kills, had a team-best 19 for the Highlanders, while Princeton's Kendall Ratter, the EIVA leader in hitting percentage, added 18 kills, five digs and hit .323 for the Tigers. While those two did what was expected, it was Dixon's performance that ultimately pushed Princeton to the win. He had already topped his career high in kills early in the third set, and he finished with 22 in the four-set win. Classmate Greg Luck added 10 kills and five digs, including a pair of late kills as Princeton pushed away from NJIT late.
All-EIVA middle Junior Oboh had seven kills without an error (.583), while Billy Andrew filled in for an ill George Huhmann and had three kills, two aces, four digs and a block. Senior setter Jonah May recorded 51 assists — his third straight match with at least 50 — and he led an efficient offense that kept NJIT away from long surges over the final three sets.
The key stretch in the match occurred late — really late — in the second set, as Princeton continuously sided out on set balls. A hitting error finally gave Princeton a one-point lead; NJIT would side out, but Ratter followed with consecutive kills for the 34-32 win.
Princeton will conclude its four-match EIVA homestand Saturday at 7 pm when it hosts reigning league champion George Mason; you can watch the match live on the Ivy League Digital Network.