Huhmann powers Princeton past Barton in offensive laden NCAA play-in match

Photo courtesy of Princeton athletics

George Huhmann showed once again why he was the 2019 EIVA Player of the Year.

Huhmann finished with both a match-high 19 kills on a .424 attack percentage and three aces as Princeton defeated Barton 25-23, 25-21, 18-25, 25-20 in the NCAA Tournament play-in match on Thursday in Wilson, North Carolina.

Along with Huhmann, the Tigers playing in their first NCAA Tournament in 21 years had two more players with double-digit kills. Outside attacker Greg Luck had 10 kills and hit .500, while outside attacker Kendall Ratter added 11 kills on a .364 attack percentage against Barton.

Princeton out-hit Barton .388 to .350, including having a match-best .542 attack percentage in the final game to secure its first NCAA Tournament win in program history.

Despite the loss, the ConfCarolinas champions Barton had three players finish double-digit kills and more than a .300 attack percentage.

Opposite Angelos Mandilaris, the ConfCarolians Offensive Player of the Year, had a team-high 17 kills while hitting .342. Senior outside attacker Vasilis Mandilaris in his final college match contributed 15 kills on a .345 attack percentage, while freshman outside attacker Adrian Iglesias added 10 kills and hit .350.

With its seven-point third-game victory, Barton also became the first ConfCarolinas team win a NCAA Tournament game.

Barton had opportunities late in the first two games to avoid dropping into a two-game deficit.

In the opening game, the teams were tied at 22-22 before the Tigers went on a 3-1 run to win the game. Huhmann started that late-game run with a kill to give the Princeton the lead and then from the service line helped the team earn another point that set up a game-point.

Huhmann also had an ace as part of a 4-0 run to close out the second game. In addition, his serve forced Barton’s offense out-of-system twice during the game-winning run that started with the score tied at 21-21.

The Tigers were the EIVA regular season champions and won the EIVA Tournament to earn the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Princeton will now advance to play Pepperdine in the NCAA Tournament opening round on Tuesday in Long Beach, California.

These two teams met in the nation’s first match of the 2019 college men’s volleyball season with the Waves beating the Tigers in four games.