Super Huhmann effort lifts Princeton to dramatic EIVA championship, NCAA Tournament berth

Photo courtesy of Princeton athletics

It was only fitting that George Huhmann stepped up and delivered in

the biggest moment of the match and season.

Huhmann had the match-winning kill to cap off a 25-kill performance as Princeton defeated Penn State 28-26, 22-25, 25-18, 20-25, 15-13 in the EIVA Tournament finals on Saturday to clinch its first NCAA Tournament berth in 21 years.

Huhmann led all players in kills during the championship match and had four kills in the decisive fifth-game, including converting on Princeton’s third championship-point to avoid overtime.

The 2019 EIVA Player of the Year was one of two Tigers with double-digit kills and more than a .400 attack percentage. Outside attacker Parker Dixon added 15 kills while hitting .483 in the victory.

Along with his offensive performance, Huhmann playing a hybrid position of middle attacker and opposite finished with a match-high three blocks. He also contributed defensively with six blocks.

Princeton out-hit Penn State .373 to .318 and in the fifth game committed two attack errors — four fewer errors than Penn State.

Despite the team hitting .190 in the final game, setter Cole Bongner guided Penn State to more than a .300 attack percentage in three of the five games. Bongner also ended the match leading all players with 11 digs.

Outside attacker Brett Wildman in the loss had a team-high 24 kills on a .300 attack percentage. In addition, outside attacker Matthew McLaren contributed 17 kills.

This is the second EIVA championship in Princeton’s program history. Princeton last advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 1998 when it upset Penn State in the EIVA Tournament semifinals and won the conference tournament.

Princeton won the EIVA regular season championship to earn home court for the conference tournament. It swept St. Francis in the semifinals on Thursday to advance to the finals against Penn State.