Multiple players who have competed in some of the most prestigious national and international tournaments will join the defending EIVA champions for the upcoming season.
Princeton announced earlier this week that freshmen James Hartley, Alexander Mrkalj, Nico Posivak and Danny Sun have all committed to play for the Tigers beginning in the 2020 season.
Hartley, a 6-foot-6 pin-hitter from Waxhaw, North Carolina, was a member of the U.S. Boys’ Youth National Team that finished in 15th place at the FIVB U19 World Championship in August. He also led his club team to qualify three times for the USA Volleyball Boys’ Junior National Championship.
“James Hartley is a special talent, period,” Princeton coach Sam Shweisky said in a statement. “Aside from his ability to play left side, right side, and set, James has the most explosive arm swing in a prospect we have ever recruited. James plays the game fast and furious with a creativity not often seen in players his age.”
Mrkalj, a 6-foot-5 pin-hitter from Ontario, Canada, spent this summer competing with the Canadian Men’s Junior National Team and helped the team win the silver medal at the U21 Pan American Cup in May. In addition, Mrkalj arrives to Princeton following a gap year since concluding a high school career that featured him being named to the national all-star team.
“Alex is mature beyond his years having already lived a year on his own,” Shweisky said. “We project Alex to acclimate much quicker and smoother than many of his predecessors due to his background. He has played a lot of volleyball at a high level and has been exposed to elite levels of play as well as elite training methodologies.”
Posivak, a 5-foot-11 libero from Los Angeles, made the All-Tournament Team at the 2018 USA Volleyball Boys’ Junior National Championship and spent the last four years competing in the High Performance Championships. The all-conference selection and state champion with his high school team is the first natural libero Princeton has recruited in almost 10 years.
“Nico is a precocious defender who takes up seemingly the entire court on serve receive,” Shweisky said. “On top of his physical skill, Nico’s knowledge of the game and volleyball IQ are what set him apart from other recruits in his class.”
Sun, a 6-foot setter from Monmouth Junction, New Jersey, twice earned all-division honors while in high school. He also served as the team captain for three consecutive seasons and set the school record with 17,21 career assists.
“Danny is an intelligent setter who runs a crisp offense and can set a multitude of play sets from all across the court,” Shweisky said. “He has a great upbeat personality and will be a great addition to the Princeton Volleyball family.”
The Tigers ended last season winning the EIVA championship and reaching the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998. In addition, Princeton defeated the ConfCarolinas champions Barton on the road in the NCAA Tournament play-in match.
Among the starters returning for the Tigers in 2020 includes opposite George Huhmann, who was the 2019 EIVA Player of the Year and spent the offseason playing with the U.S. Men’s National Team.