CROWNING ACHIEVEMENT: Members of the Princeton University men’s volleyball team display the trophy they earned for topping New Jersey Institute of Technology 3-1 (23-25, 27-25, 27-25, 25-18) in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association final last Saturday evening. The Tigers, now 15-12 overall and riding a 10-match winning streak, will be facing North Greenville University (20-5) in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on May 1 at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, Calif. (Photo provided courtesy of Princeton Athletics)
By Bill Alden
When the Princeton University men’s volleyball team fell 3-1 to Penn State on March 18, it looked like the squad was going nowhere this season.
The defeat left the Tigers at 5-12 overall and 4-6 Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association and out of the mix for the EIVA playoffs.
But Princeton head coach Sam Shweisky saw something special in his squad’s performance that night.
“We took a set off of them and you could see that we had really improved from before,” said Shweisky, referring to a 3-0 loss to the Nittany Lions on February 4. “It was a better product, it wasn’t about winning. They beat us, they were better than us but we felt proud about what we put out there. We also felt excited about learning.”
The Tigers defeated St. Francis 3-0 a day later and haven’t lost since, producing some exciting volleyball along the way. They ended the season on a seven-game winning streak, finishing in fourth place and earning a spot in the EIVA playoffs.
Last week, Princeton defeated St. Francis 3-0 in the opening round of the playoffs on Wednesday, setting up a matchup against the top-seeded and second-ranked Penn State, the tournament host a day later. Princeton turned the tables on the Nittany Lions, pulling out a thrilling 3-2 win to earn a spot in the final. Last Saturday, the Tigers defeated New Jersey Institute of Technology 3-1 to earn the EIVA title.
Now the Tigers, 15-12 and riding a 10-match winning streak, are headed to California where they will face North Greenville (20-5) in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on May 1 at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, Calif.
In reflecting on the team’s late surge, Shweisky points to an increased emphasis on defense. more