NCAA Tournament play-in match to follow tonight

Photo by Jay Sowers

Princeton and Barton will kick off the 2019 NCAA Tournament with the play-in match on Thursday. Check out what to know about this postseason match and how to follow it live.

Princeton (17-12, 13-1 EIVA) vs. Barton (25-4, 14-2 ConfCarolinas)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Wilson, North Carolina
Follow live: Live stats, Live video
How they got here: Barton won the ConfCarolians regular season title and then defeated King in five games in the ConfCarolinas Tournament finals. Princeton won the EIVA regular season championship and then defeated Penn State in the EIVA Tournament finals.
Season series: First meeting this season.
Series history: Princeton leads 1-0 (last meeting in 2014)
NCAA Tournament titles: Princeton (none); Barton (none)
NCAA Tournament appearances: Princeton (1998); Barton (2017)
NCAA Tournament record: Princeton (0-1); Barton (0-1)
What to know: The firsts surrounding this NCAA Tournament play-in match are plentiful. It’s the first time a ConfCarolinas school has played host to a NCAA Tournament match. It’s the first meeting between Princeton and Barton in five years. More importantly, though, the Tigers or Bulldogs will conclude the night winning their first NCAA Tournament in program history. Both conference champions reached the NCAA Tournament after experiencing lengthy winning streaks this season. Princeton is on a seven-match winning streak, while Barton had a 14-match winning streak midway through the season. The Bulldogs also finished with the third-most wins in the nation, including non-conference victories against Grand Canyon, Harvard and NCAA Tournament participant USC. This play-in match will feature two of the top offensive players in the nation. Barton opposite Angelos Mandilaris is second in the nation with a 4.40 kills per game average and is hitting a career-best .356. The ConfCarolinas Offensive Player of the Year also had at least 20 kills in five matches during the second half of the season, including a match-high 27 kills in a five-game victory versus King in the ConfCarolinas Tournament finals. George Huhmann playing a hybrid opposite and middle attacker position for Princeton is third in the EIVA and among the nation leaders averaging 3.43 kills per game. The EIVA Player of the Year led all players with 25 kills on a .426 attack percentage as Princeton defeated Penn State in five games in the EIVA Tournament finals. This was the fifth time in the last six matches that Huhmann had double-digit kills while hitting more than .400. Both Princeton and Barton are in the nation’s top 10 averaging more than 1.60 aces per game. Princeton outside attacker Kendall Ratter led the EIVA and was eighth in the country with a 0.46 aces per game average. He also contributed five of the Tigers’ 15 aces in the EIVA Tournament semifinals and finals. Along with the serving performances, Barton led the ConfCarolinas and was fourth in the country with a .338 attack percentage. Setter Oscar Fiorentino has guided the offense to more than a .300 attack percentage in nine of the last 11 matches and climbed to fourth in the country with a 10.66 assists per game average.