The two teams met twice in the regular season, and both matches went the full five sets. Harvard emerged victorious both times, but this will be the first time the two programs have ever met in the playoffs.
The Harvard men’s volleyball team improved on last year’s haul of one first team All-EIVA player and two second teamers by sending a program-best five players to the All-EIVA squads this year. Three players made the first team and two made the second team, as the Crimson posted a program-record 11 wins in conference play.
Penn State (18-6, 9-1 EIVA) all but wrapped up the regular season EIVA title on Friday night, beating No. 12 Harvard (12-7, 8-3 EIVA) in straight sets. Winning the regular season crown would net the No. 15 Nittany Lions the top seed in the playoffs and the right to host the tournament.
The Penn State men’s volleyball team (17-6, 8-1 EIVA) has won the EIVA conference championship for the last 15 years straight, dominating the league in recent memory. On Friday night, it will be coming to challenge Harvard (12-6, 8-2 EIVA) and for the first time in years, the Nittany Lions will not be runaway favorites.
Rhoads’ success as a coach is guided by a distinct philosophy that aims to alleviate the mental rigor of competitive golf. In seeking the best outcomes for his players, Coach Rhoads consistently stresses the process over the outcome.
“The players were in tears after the match,” co-captain Natalie Doyle said. “The coach was in tears after the match. This was the first win [against Yale] since 2004. We have worked so hard to be the top of the Ivy League and this just proves that we are the best team in the Ivy League.”