Wicked Awesome! Harvard beats Princeton to win EIVA championship

Photo courtesy of Harvard athletics.

The first EIVA Tournament finals between two Ivy League schools featured no lack of offense.

Harvard running its 6-2 offense finished with a .403 attack percentage as it defeated Princeton 25-20, 26-24, 17-25, 25-23 on Saturday in Fairfax, Virginia, to win its first EIVA championship and NCAA Tournament berth in program history.

The Crimson committed three or fewer attack errors in all three games they won and had three players finish with double-digit kills.

Outside attacker Erik Johnson led Harvard with 16 kills on a .560 attack percentage, while All-EIVA outside attacker Brad Gretsch matched Johnson with 16 kills. In addition, middle attacker Trevor Dow had 12 kills and zero attack errors on a .800 attack percentage.

Setters Marko Kostich and Matthew Ctvrtlik along with running the offense had a combined 14 kills against the Tigers.

Princeton in the loss finished with a .355 attack percentage, including hitting a match-best .600 in the third game.

All-EIVA opposite George Huhmann in the loss finished with both a match-high 19 kills and three aces.

Along with the offensive performance from both teams, Harvard libero Chase Howard led all players with 11 digs. Howard was making his first start after missing four matches because of a late-season injury

The Crimson are the first non-No. 1 or No. 2 seed to win the EIVA Tournament during the rally scoring era. Harvard advanced to the finals after upsetting the defending EIVA champions Penn State in five games in the semifinals on Thursday.

Harvard as the EIVA automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament is projected to compete in the NCAA Tournament next weekend, according to the latest Off the Block bracketology.