The Penn State men’s volleyball team, 21-5 and ranked eighth in the country, will host the EIVA championships this weekend in Rec Hall. The #1-seeded Lions will square off against #4 Princeton tonight at 8 p.m. while #2 Harvard and #3 George Mason will meet in the first semi-final at 5:30 p.m.
The winners will meet on Saturday night at 7 p.m. for the championship.
All time, Penn State is 45-2 against Princeton and defeated the Tigers (13-9) twice this season, 3-0 and 3-2. Those numbers could be deceiving, however, because PSU had to come back three times in the Lions’ 3-2 win at Princeton on March 30th.
Penn State evened that match with an incredible 37-35 win in the fourth set and was able to hold on in the fifth set for the win. Princeton, by the way, is the last team to defeat Penn State in EIVA tournament play when it won a 3-2 decision in 1998.
Penn State also defeated Harvard (10-4 in EIVA) twice this season, but the Lions were pushed to the limit by the Crimson in PSU’s 3-2 win at home on April 7th. The same is true of George Mason (8-6 in EIVA) who Penn State defeated 3-0 on February 25th, but who gave PSU all it could handle in a 3-1 Penn State win at George Mason on March 31st.
In all, the four teams seemed to be bunching up in the later stages of the season, and that could lead to some entertaining matches in this year’s tournament.
Elsewhere, the Penn State baseball team continues to improve. The Lions won for the seventh time in the last eight tries when they defeated Kent State, 6-4, on Wednesday afternoon. Senior Sean Deegan struck the big blow when he hit a bases-loaded triple in the bottom of the fourth that put the Lions ahead for good. Deegan’s triple was the 14th of his career and set a new Penn State all-time record.
Freshman catcher JC Coban picked up three hits on the day, raising his average to .301 for the season, and sophomore Tim Dunn got the win in 3 1/3 innings of relief.
It’s back to Big Ten play this weekend for PSU as Ohio State comes to Medlar Field for a big three-game series. Penn State will have a chance to continue its climb back to the .500 mark as well as improve its standing in the conference.
Football coach Bill O’Brien will throw out the first pitch on Friday night (so we’ll get to see how good his arm is), and pitcher Steven Hill will be honored before the game for throwing Penn State’s first Big Ten no-hitter against Iowa on Saturday.
There will also be fireworks after the game and probably quite a few during the game as well.
Finally, the #8-ranked women’s lacrosse team will finish out its regular season on Saturday with a Senior Day contest against Princeton at the PSU Lacrosse Field at 3 p.m. The Lions (10-5) already have more wins this season than any other since 2005, and are looking forward to the playoffs, which start next week in Florida.
Also, senior goalkeeper Dana Cahill has been selected as a nominee for the 2012 Tewaaraton Award, which is presented to the nation’s top female collegiate lacrosse player. She was one of 20 players selected out of an original list of 57, and the five finalists will be announced on May 10th. The award will be presented on May 31st at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.