After two convincing sweeps against Brown and Yale this past weekend, the Tigers have now defeated every team in the Ivy League this season.
The Princeton Tigers (13-3, 7-0 Ivy) landed a monumental achievement this weekend as they clenched their 19th consecutive set this season in their latest game against Yale.
Princeton stands undefeated in the Ivy League and have claimed a 3-0 sweep in every game so far, with the exception of the season opener against Penn (3-2). This year’s season start is almost the polar opposite of last year’s, where the Tigers went a shaky 3-4 in the first half of the season but magnificently converted their record into a 10-4 first place finish. There is no doubt now that if Princeton continues at this rate, a second Ivy League title and a spot in the NCAA are very realistic possibilities awaiting it this season.
In their game against Brown (4-13, 2-5 Ivy) on Oct. 14, Princeton took a total of 40 kills against the Bears’ 28, and made a total of 6 aces. Once again leading the attack were senior co-captain Cara Mattaliano and freshman Maggie O’Connell with 13 and 12 kills, respectively. Freshman setter Jessie Harris also displayed stellar performance, making 37 of the team’s 39 assists. Mattaliano also played a pivotal role in the team’s defense with 19 digs, followed by freshman Devon Peterkin’s 14.
A similar story played out for the reigning champions in their game against Yale (12-4, 5-2 Ivy) on the following day. What was expected to be a close match between the first and second place teams of the tournament turned out to be an one-sided fixture as the Tigers swept the Bulldogs. The O’Connell and Mattaliano duo once again bagged an astounding 13 and 10 kills with the help of Harris’ 33 assists.
“Incoming freshmen have been a really integral part of our success this year,” said Mattaliano. “The freshmen play a huge role – they came in with a lot of fire and intensity and really created roles for themselves. They have contributed so much to our success, both on and off the court.”
Mattaliano also attributed this season’s success to the team’s mentality and work ethic, saying they “have really contributed so much. Playing with intensity and passion every single point has been a huge part of our success.”
As the only undefeated team in the Ivy League, the co-captain also addressed the team’s future directions for the second half of the season. “Last year, a lot of our success was from our underdog mentality. Once we started winning, we were just going for it. That’s something we were still able to maintain this season. Now, we are not going to play as if we are in first place. We’re going to play every single point to prove that we can do this. We’re going to play like the underdogs.”
The Tigers hope to continue their momentum this Friday and take a step closer to their goal of winning the tournament and advancing to the NCAA as they host the Quakers in their eighth game of the season.