With two weeks left in the EIVA regular season, just one team has clinched a spot into the EIVA semifinals in George Mason. The Patriots can take things further this week and clinch the regular season title and the top seed in the tournament as well. Beyond that, the battle for two/three and the four seed is contested leading into the postseason, with some important clashes to the ending product occurring this week.
With new story-lines emerging and a new season of sorts in league play commencing, VolleyMob will be giving conference updates. Below is analysis as well as the weekly EIVA table, awards, matches of the week and power rankings:
|#16 George Mason||10-0||14-10|
|#18 Penn State||7-3||12-9|
MATCHES OF THE WEEK:
- April 6: Princeton at Harvard
- April 6: Saint Francis at #16 George Mason
- April 6: #18 Penn State at Charleston
- April 7: #18 Penn State at #16 George Mason
- April 7: Saint Francis at Charleston
VOLLEYMOB EIVA POWER RANKINGS:
- George Mason
- Penn State
- Saint Francis
- Sacred Heart
ON THE VERGE OF #1
- George Mason Patriots
- vs. Saint Francis (3-7)
- vs. #18 Penn State (7-3)
- vs. Harvard (8-2)
- vs. Harvard (8-2)
After surviving five-setters with NJIT and Princeton, George Mason moves forward with three of their final four matches coming against the other top teams in the EIVA. They now remain unbeaten at 10-0 and have a magic number of two to earn at least a share of the regular season title and three to take it outright. That means that a Harvard loss and two George Mason victories or two Harvard losses and one George Mason victory gets it done. Behind the top offense in EIVA play and solid numbers in blocking and serving, the Patriots have not only taken the EIVA by storm and are close to locking down the top spot, but also now rank 12th in the latest RPI poll, which maybe gives them an outside shot if chaos occurs and they win out to get a top five seed in the NCAA Tournament instead of playing in the six-seven play-in game.
CAN ANYONE CATCH PRINCETON FOR FOUR?
- Charleston, Saint Francis, NJIT
All of these teams sit at 3-7 in EIVA action – perfectly two matches back of Princeton for the fourth spot in the league. The importance of that fourth spot is that just the top four from the conference make the EIVA Tournament with a spot in the NCAA Tournament on the line. One team might be essentially eliminated in the Charleston-Saint Francis match, while SFU also has to play at George Mason. After that though next week they host NJIT – who may have the most difficult finish with all four in EIVA play on the road – in another potential de facto elimination from the four seed. Saint Francis even finishes their season with Princeton, who has to play at Harvard this week. Should they win that, these teams will need to be perfect to finish the year, but they will be rooting hard for the Crimson to down the Tigers and keep them within striking distance. Beyond that though, Charleston may have the easiest overall road if they can overcome SFU, as all four come at home with their last two against bottom-dweller Sacred Heart.