Jonathan Bates | Off the Block Associate Editor
The EIVA Tournament semifinal match-ups are set. Check out the quick-hit guide of what to know about each first-round match.
No. 1 seed Princeton (15-12, 13-1 EIVA) vs. No. 4 seed Saint Francis (15-13, 9-5 EIVA)
Match vitals: 8 p.m. on Thursday in Princeton, New Jersey
Follow live: Live stats, In-match Tweets
Season series: Tied 1-1 (Saint Francis won in four games in Loretto on March 2; Princeton swept on April 6)
Last EIVA Tournament title: Princeton (1998); Saint Francis (never)
Stats to know: Highlighted by Uvaldo Acosta Memorial EIVA Player of the Year Award winner George Huhmann, Princeton garnered five all-EIVA selections – a program-best mark. Princeton coach Sam Shweisky was also named Bob Sweeney EIVA Coach of the Year, his second such honor. Saint Francis outside attacker Michael Fisher made the EIVA First-Team, while setter BJ Blair made the Second-Team. The Tigers and the Red Flash have played 51 matches in their all-time series history, with Princeton winning 37 of those matches. Don’t be fooled by Princeton’s 15-12 overall record, as their non-conference records ranks No. 11 nationally. Princeton leads the EIVA with 1.59 aces per game, led by outside attacker Kendall Ratter’s .447 aces per game. Huhmann leads the Tigers with .838 blocks per game, 3.37 kills per game, and a .348 attack percentage. Saint Francis ranked second in the EIVA at 11.71 kills per game and 11.07 assists per game. Fisher leads the Red Flash with .398 aces per game, 4.27 kills per game, and a .291 attack percentage. Interestingly, Princeton has the second best attack percentage in the EIVA at .284, while Saint Francis leads the EIVA with a .227 opponent attack percentage. In the March 2 match, Saint Francis won the final two games each by a score of 26-24. Red Flash outside attacker led all players with 18 kills on a .517 attack percentage. In the rematch, the Tigers outblocked the Red Flash, 15 to 5, while outhitting them .407 to 226. Individually, Huhmann had 16 kills on a .600 attack percentage en route to being named EIVA Offensive Player of the Week for Week 14.
No. 2 seed George Mason (17-8, 10-4 EIVA) vs. No. 3 Penn State (14-14, 10-4 EIVA)
Match vitals: 5 p.m. on Thursday in Princeton, New Jersey
Follow Live: Live stats, In-match Tweets
Season series: George Mason 2-0 (Both sweeps)
Last EIVA Tournament title: George Mason (2016); Penn State (2017)
Stats to know: Penn State outside attacker Henrik Falck Lauten was named the 2019 EIVA Newcomer of the Year and to the EIVA Second-Team on Tuesday. Penn State middle attacker Jason Donorovich was named to the EIVA First-Team, outside attacker Matthew McLaren was named to the EIVA Second-Team, and opposite Brett Wildman garnered Honorable Mention honors. Penn State holds a 106-18 edge over George Mason in the all-time series. Six George Mason players garnered all-EIVA accolades, including libero Will Calaman, outside attacker Sam Greenslade, and opposite Hayden Wagner on the First-Team. George Mason either leads the EIVA or is No. 2 in all major statistical categories, including ranking first in assists per game (11.57), digs per game (9.15), attack percentage (.295), and kills per game (12.42). The Patriots are led by middle attack Jack Reese who leads the team with 1.157 blocks per game and a .407 attack percentage, and Wagner’s 4.31 kills per game (ranking fifth nationally). Donorovich leads Penn State with .355 aces per game, .892 blocks per game, and a .373 attack percentage. In the two regular season matches, George Mason outhit Penn State, .425 to .238.
Winners of both semifinal matches advanced to Saturday’sfinal at 7 p.m. also in Princeton, New Jersey