Harvard held on to fend off Princeton in five sets and keep its EIVA playoff hosting hopes alive, while Ohio State cemented its top spot in the MIVA Tournament with a sweep of No. 13 Fort Wayne. Also key in conference races was a King victory over Barton, which leveled the teams atop the Conference Carolinas standings. No. 12 Ball State, No. 16 George Mason and No. 18 Penn State also notched Friday wins.
#5 Ohio State def. #13 Fort Wayne 3-0 (25-18, 25-23, 25-16)
- Ohio State moves to 20-4, 11-2 MIVA; Fort Wayne falls to 17-10, 5-8 MIVA
- Fort Wayne, Indiana
- Box Score
- Ohio State Recap / Fort Wayne Recap
Key Stats: Ohio State hit at a stellar .455 clip as a team, making just eight errors on the night, in a road sweep of Fort Wayne to claim its third straight MIVA title and the top seed in the league’s postseason tournament. The Buckeyes also bested the Mastodons in kills (48-33), efficiency (.455 to .209) and blocks (4-2). Fort Wayne won the service battle 6-3 in aces.
Stat Leaders: Senior outside Maxime Hervoir was tops for OSU in kills with 16, while redshirt freshman opposite Jake Hanes (13) and senior outside Nicolas Szerszen (11) also posted double-digit efforts. Szerszen hit at a team-best .550 clip and added seven digs, while Hervoir hit at a .480 clip. Redshirt junior middle Blake Leeson chalked up four kills and a team-best three blocks and was one of three Buckeyes with an ace.
Redshirt junior outside Tony Price, sophomore outside Pelegrin Vargas and freshman middle Tomas Gago downed eight kills apiece for the Mastodons. Gago posted a team-best .462 hitting effort and two aces, while Vargas managed a team-high seven digs. Redshirt junior outside Colton Stone added three aces and a team-leading two blocks.
It Was Over When: The teams played to a 10-all tie to kick off Set 3, but from there it was nearly all Buckeyes as OSU scored 15 of the final 21 to cap the sweep. Six Fort Wayne errors, two Leeson blocks and two kills each by Szerszen and Hervoir led the way for Ohio State. A Laffin putaway was the final blow in the 25-16 win and the match.
King def. Barton (RV) 3-1 (25-17, 25-20, 21-25, 25-15)
- King moves to 18-5, 14-1 Conference Carolinas; Barton falls to 18-7, 14-1 Conference Carolinas
- Bristol, Tennessee
- Box Score
- Barton Recap / King Recap
Key Stats: King put together a .347 hitting effort and notched eight blocks to register a four-set win over Barton and move into a first-place tie in the Conference Carolinas standings with one match to play. The Tornado victory snapped a 13-match win streak for the Bulldogs and evened the season series between the teams, following a Barton sweep on Feb. 24. King hit .367 or better in three of the four sets, while holding Barton under .100 in sets 2 and 4. For the match, the Tornado boasted a 50-40 lead in kills, a .347 to .147 lead in hitting efficiency, a 6-5 edge in aces and 8-6 advantage in blocks.
Stat Leaders: Senior right side Kiel Bell notched a team-high 17 kill and eight digs, while hitting a .483 clip for King. Senior outside Jeff Sprayberry followed with 15 kills, six digs and two blocks. Senior right side Sean Luhmann (7), junior middle Jon Wheaton (6) and senior middle Adrian Besson (5) followed offensively. Besson hit at a team-high .571 clip and put up a team-leading four blocks. Senior setter Nick Drooker served up two aces, while also accounting for 47 assists, seven digs and two stuffs.
Junior outside Aleksa Brkovic and sophomore right side Angelos Mandilaris managed 14 kills apiece to pace Barton. Junior outside Vasilis Mandilaris added eight putaways, but hit just .037 in the match. Brkovic hit at a team-leading .273 clip and turned in three of the team’s five aces. Angelos Mandilaris added seven digs, while redshirt sophomore setter Oscar Fiorentino and junior middle Justice Lord posted two blocks apiece.
It Was Over When: The Tornado turned the tables, kicking off Set 4 with an 8-2 lead, including two kills and a block by Bell. Up just four at 8-4, King broke the set open with eight of the next 10 points, including two kills each by Sprayberry and Bell. A pair of blocks by Besson and Drooker pushed the Tornado lead to 11 at 19-8. Barton would get no closer than nine the rest of the night as the team traded points. Sprayberry downed the final kill at 25-15.
Harvard def. #20 Princeton 3-2 (25-15, 25-21, 18-25, 19-25, 15-13)
- Harvard moves to 10-11, 9-2 EIVA; Princeton falls to 9-14, 5-6 EIVA
- Cambridge, Massachusetts
- Box Score
- Princeton Recap / Harvard Recap
Key Stats: Harvard won its fifth straight match, holding on for the five set win over rival Princeton, overcoming a 20.5 to 6 deficit in blocks. The Tigers outhit the Crimson .250 to .237 and also bested their foes 6-5 in aces. Harvard held the advantage in kills (61-52) and digs (49-43). It was an up and down match for both sides, although Princeton improved steadily throughout after a .036 hitting effort in Set 1, until falling off with a .136 clip in Set 5. Harvard went off the rails for two sets, but rebounded with a .208 Set 5 effort.
Stat Leaders: Senior middle Brad Gretsch was the top hitter for the Crimson, notching 17 kills, while sophomore outside Erik Johnsson (14) and senior middle Riley Moore (10) also posted double-digit efforts. Moore hit at a team-best .375 clip and put up three blocks, alongside junior middle Trevor Dow and sophomore setter Matthew Ctrvtlik. Ctrvtlik also managed a double-double with 28 assists, 12 digs and five kills to go with a team-leading two aces.
Four Princeton players registered double-digit kill tallies: sophomore outside Greg Luck (15), sophomore outside Parker Dixon (15), sophomore middle George Huhmann (10) and senior middle Junior Oboh (10). Oboh hit at a team-high .412 clip and rounded out a double-double with a match-high 10 blocks. Huhmann also managed a double-double, adding in 10 aces and six stuffs, while senior outside Mike Fuerst also chipped in six stuffs.
It Was Over When: After letting Princeton back in the match with wins in Set 3 and 4, Harvard found itself facing a 10-6 deficit in the decisive fifth set. Five Crimson errors and two Oboh stuffs aided the Tigers. Harvard called timeout and found its way, outscoring Princeton 9-3 down the stretch. Back to back Tiger errors started the rally and two kills each by Moore and Gretsch pushed the Crimson through to the 15-13 win.
#12 Ball State def. #17 McKendree 3-0 (25-17, 25-15, 25-20)
- Ball State moves to 16-11, 9-4 MIVA; McKendree falls to 11-13, 6-7 MIVA
- Muncie, Indiana
- Box Score
- McKendree Recap / Ball State Recap
Key Stats: Ball State hit .309 and held McKendree to a .012 hitting effort in their third-straight victory heading into Saturday’s regular season finale with Ohio State. The Cardinals used a 12-5 blocking advantage to limit the Bearcats offensively, while also managing a 46-20 lead in kills and 4-3 edge in aces. Ball State hit nearly .350 in the first two sets before falling off to a .226 effort in Set 3, while holding McKendree to a .038 clip.
Stat Leaders: Sophomore outside Matt Szews downed a match-high 14 kills and added a team-best 10 digs and three blocks to pace Ball State. Senior outside Mitch Weiler added nine kills on a team-high .563 hitting effort (9-0-16), while freshman outside Ben Chinnici (8), senior middle Matt Walsh (7) and junior middle Parker Swartz (6) rounded out the offense. Walsh accounted for a team-best six blocks, while Swartz added five stuffs.
Redshirt senior middle Brendan Schmidt and senior outsides Nolan Rueter and Jared Wilcox chipped in five kills apiece to lead McKendree. Wilcox (.143) and Rueter (.038) were the lone Bearcats with positive hitting numbers. Wilcox also was one of three McKendree players with an ace. Redshirt freshman middle Wyatt Dimke notched a team-high three blocks.
It Was Over When: Ball State scored nine of the first 11 points in Set 3 as Szews and Walsh turned in two kills apiece and Weiler and Swartz notched aces forcing a McKendree timeout. The Bearcats chipped away, tying the score at 16 before taking an 18-17 lead of their own. Six BSU miscues, and three kills, a block and an ace by Wilcox paced the team in the rally. The Cardinals, however, closed out the night with eight of the final 10 points, including kills by four different players and a pair of blocks. A McKendree hitting error capped the match.
#16 George Mason def. Saint Francis 3-0 (25-12, 25-21, 25-19)
- George Mason moves to 15-10, 11-0 EIVA; Saint Francis falls to 8-18, 3-8 EIVA
- Fairfax, Virginia
- Box Score
- Saint Francis Recap / George Mason Recap
Key Stats: George Mason kept its stranglehold atop the EIVA standings with a sweep of Saint Francis, including a stellar .727 hitting effort in Set 1, the team’s highest of the season. The Patriots hit .390 for the match, outdoing the Red Flash’s .130 effort. GMU also bested SFU in kills (36-28) and aces (5-2). The Red Flash won the block 6-4.
Stat Leaders: A balanced attack of sophomore opposite Hayden Wagner (9), redshirt senior outside Christian Malias (9) and junior outside Kyle Barnes (8) guided the Patriots to victory. Malias hit at a .438 clip and added two aces and two blocks, while Barnes and Wagner each served up an ace. Redshirt freshman middle Jack Reese notched a team-best three blocks to go with four kills and a team-high .500 hitting effort (4-0-8).
Junior outside Cole Thompson (7), redshirt senior outside Stephen Braswell (6) and senior outside Brandon Buck (6) led the way for Saint Francis offensively, but none hit better than .120 in the match. Buck added a team-high three blocks alongside senior middle Keith Kegerreis, while Braswell managed two aces.
It Was Over When: Thompson notched two kills and a block to give SFU an early 4-0 lead in Set 3. George Mason turned the tables with a 12-5 run, including seven Red Flash miscues and two Reese putaways. Down 12-9, Saint Francis charged back with seven of the next 10 to erase the deficit and go up 16-15. Two Kegerreis blocks and a kill and an ace by Braswell highlighted the SFU rally. The Patriots countered with a 3-0 run, including a kill and an ace by Malias and never trailed the rest of the way. Up 20-19, GMU pulled away for good with a final 5-0 run, bookended by a kill and an ace by Barnes.
#18 Penn State def. Charleston 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-21)
- Penn State moves to 13-9, 8-3 EIVA; Charleston falls to 13-9, 3-8 EIVA
- Charleston, West Virginia
- Box Score
- Penn State Recap / Charleston Recap
Key Stats: Penn State dominated the offensive side of the ball, racking up 46 kills to Charleston’s 25 and outhitting the Eagles .316 to .157. The Nittany Lions hit .355 in Sets 1 and 3, while limiting Charleston to just one set over .200 (.250 in Set 1). Charleston led 4-3 in aces, while both teams notched six blocks.
Stat Leaders: Redshirt senior opposite Jalen Penrose tallied a match-high 12 kills, seven digs and three blocks for the Nittany Lions. Redshirt junior outside Matthew McLaren (10), redshirt senior outside Aidan Albrecht (9) and redshirt sophomore middle Jason Donorovich (8) finished out a balanced PSU attack. Albrecht served up a team-leading two aces, while Donorovich hit at a team-high .500 clip (8-1-14). Redshirt senior middle Kevin Gear turned in five kills and a match-best five blocks.
Junior outside Brandon Greenway, junior middle Eugene Stuart and freshman outside Max Senica downed five kills apiece for Charleston as six players managed three or more putaways. Stuart hit at an .833 clip with five kills in six errorless swings. Senior outside Ryan Santos served up two aces, while sophomore middle Adriel Roberts and senior setter Anthony Rivera turned in five and four blocks respectively.
It Was Over When: Penn State went up 4-1 in Set 3 with help from two UC miscues, but the Eagles charged back to tie it up at 7 thanks to two Greenway kills and a kill and an ace by Senica. The teams tied four more times, last at 11, before the Nittany Lions pulled away with a 7-3 run, including four Eagle errors and two Gear blocks. Charleston worked its way into another tie at 20 as four PSU errors piled up and Santos scored an ace. From there, however, a 5-1 Nittany Lions run wrapped up the match. Albrecht chipped in two kills and a block in the final stretch, including the final putaway.