FAIRFAX, Va. – The George Mason men’s volleyball team is set to host the final two matches of the regular season against Princeton on Friday and NJIT on Saturday. The match against NJIT will be senior night for the Patriots as they honor the lone senior on the team, Hunter Stevens.
The Tigers most recently split their last two matches, falling to Penn State in four sets before defeating St. Francis (Pa.) in five. Earlier this season, the Patriots beat the Tigers in four sets when Princeton was ranked 14th.
The Patriots hold a 40-23 series advantage all-time against the Tigers. Cody Kessel leads Princeton with 313 kills on the season so far. Kessel was named the EIVA Offensive Player of the Week last weekend. Chris Kennedy has provided 679 assists to lead the team. Meanwhile, Junior Oboh leads the defense with 76 total blocks.
After defeating Rutgers-Newark and St. Francis (Pa.), the Highlanders most recently fell to Penn State. The Patriots beat NJIT away from home earlier this season in four sets.
The Patriots hold a 47-8 all-time record against the Highlanders and won both matches last season. TJ Jurko leads the team with 275 kills on the season. Meanwhile, Ryan Thomas has had a successful season on defense, leading NJIT with 79 blocks so far.
The Patriots freshman setter, Brian Negron, was selected to the Off The Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshmen All-American team earlier this week. Meanwhile, Paco Velez was selected by the same nationwide committee of media members and coaches as a finalist for the National Server of the Year award, along with Aaron Russell and Thomas Jaeschke.
The match against Princeton has big implications on the EIVA Tournament seeding. If the Patriots defeat Princeton, they are guaranteed at least the third seed because they would hold the tiebreaker over the Tigers. If the Patriots defeat Princeton and NJIT, and Harvard falls to Sacred Heart, then Mason would earn the second seed. If Mason falls to Princeton, they will stay as the fourth seed in the tournament.
The EIVA Tournament semifinals will be held on Wednesday at Penn State University. The final will be on Friday night.