Story Courtesy of Princeton
NEWARK, N.J. - And just like that, the Princeton men's volleyball team is right back in the thick of the EIVA playoff race.
Only 15 days after a home loss to Harvard left the Tigers at 0-4 and clinging to their postseason lives, Princeton has strung together five straight conference wins to put itself in fourth place in a tightly packed EIVA race. A narrow 3-1 win at NJIT, a match that saw three sets go to extra points, moved the Tigers to 5-4 in conference play, slightly ahead of both idle Charleston (3-3) and Saint Francis (3-4).
For the second straight night, Princeton's defensive presence at the net played a big role in an in-state win over the Highlanders. On Friday, the Tigers recorded three consecutive blocks to clinch a 3-2 home win over NJIT; on Saturday, Princeton outblocked the Highlanders 18-9 in a 26-28, 26-24, 25-14, 27-25 win in Newark. Reigning first-team All-EIVA standouts Junior Oboh (eight) and George Huhmann (seven) combined for 15 blocks on the night, while Trey Sickler and Greg Luck both added five apiece.
Parker Dixon continued his strong recent play with a team-best 13 kills, while Luck and Huhmann both added 12 apiece. Freshman setter Joe Kelly had 31 assists and nine digs, while Huhmann had a team-best four aces on the night.
While Princeton did move into fourth place in the EIVA race, it also has played more league matches (nine) than any other team in the conference. That will change as the team begins preparation for a spring break trip to the midwest, where the Tigers will play a March 20 match at Lindenwood, followed by a pair at McKendree. Princeton will return home for a March 27 match against Erskine in Dillon Gym, and then will resume league play against current frontrunner George Mason. By that weekend, teams will have caught up to Princeton in EIVA matches, and the Tigers will have a better sense of where they sit in playoff contention during the final sprint to the EIVA playoffs.
Considering where they were only 15 days ago, they'll certainly take this scenario.