Princeton and the EIVA
Princeton is a member of the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA), a league made up of eight programs that compete for an automatic berth to the NCAA Division I Men's Volleyball Championships.
The EIVA is comprised of:
Since Princeton became a varsity program prior to the 1997 season, it has reached the EIVA postseason 17 times. Princeton competed in the EIVA championship match four times (1997, 1998, 2010 and 2014), and its 1998 championship marked the only time that a team other than Penn State has represented the EIVA in the NCAA Championships over the last 20 years.
The 1998 Princeton Tigers upset two Top 15 teams en route to its lone championship. Following a 3-0 win over Springfield in the EIVA quarterfinal, third-seeded Princeton defeated No. 12 Penn State 15-7, 15-13, 16-14 in the EIVA semifinal. Scott Cooper led the Tigers with 22 kills and 12 digs, while Jeff Cooper had 18 kills. Derek Devens, a 1998 All-America, had 16 kills and five blocks, and he hit .625 in the win.
That win sent Princeton to the championship final, where it faced top-seeded Rutgers-Newark at the Golden Dome in Newark, N.J. For the second straight match, Birdwell recorded 22 kills and hit .385, while Cooper recorded 19 kills and 16 digs. Setter Jason Morrow, en route to tournament MVP honors, recorded 67 assists in the win. He had 167 assists over the three matches, and teammates Birdwell, Cooper and Devens all earned sports on the all-tournament team.
Princeton went on to play top-ranked Pepperdine in the NCAA semifinal. Despite team highs in both kills (14) and digs (six) from Birdwell, Princeton fell 15-1, 15-6, 15-4.
Princeton returned to the EIVA championship match in 2010; following wins over both Sacred Heart and George Mason, Princeton pushed Penn State through two tough sets before falling 30-28, 30-27, 30-13. Vincent Tuminelli and Michael Dye were both named to the 2010 EIVA all-tournament team.
Princeton made its most recent trip to the EIVA championship in 2014, when it again fell in three close sets to Penn State. All-tournament team selections Cody Kessel and Pat Schwagler, both of whom were instrumental in a 3-2 regular season win over Penn State, earned all-tournament team honors.