Weissbourd Leads Crimson Attack in 3-1 Win Over Sacred Heart on Senior Day

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Brady Weissbourd knocked down 24 kills on Senior Day as the Harvard men’s volleyball team clinched at least a share of the Hay Division title with a 3-1 win over Sacred Heart Saturday afternoon at the Malkin Athletic Center. The Crimson grabbed the first set, 30-25, before the Pioneers earned an extra-point win in the second, 32-30. Harvard then took control of the match, winning the third by a 30-13 score before taking the fourth set, 30-21.

The Crimson attacked at a .351 clip to improve to 6-1 in the division and 11-6 overall, winning its fifth match in a row and eighth over the past nine. Harvard will play at Rutgers-Newark, 5-2 in the division, Friday, April 17 as head coach Brian Baise’s squad can clinch the league outright and earn the No. 7 seed in the upcoming EIVA Conference Tournament with a win.

Weissbourd hit .349 and tied his career high with five service aces to go along with six digs and four blocks in the last home match of his career. Freshman Matt Jones had a match-high nine digs and hit .429 with 16 kills, while junior Gil Weintraub handed out 50 assists with six digs. Senior Jeff Nathan, also appearing in the last home match of his career, contributed three digs at the libero position. Harvard limited the Pioneers to a .085 attack percentage as Kalani Efstathiou and Roger Parent led the way for Sacred Heart (11-10, 1-6 Hay) with 10 kills each.

Harvard fell behind early, as Sacred Heart took a two-point lead at 5-3, to open play. Jones and sophomore Shaun Mansour blocked an attack to go up 10-8, forcing the Pioneers to call a timeout. Sacred Heart tied the score up four different times until taking a three-point lead at 19-16 with a block of a Weissbourd attack. A kill by Jones tied it back up at 20-20, and then two-straight service aces by Weissbourd led to another Pioneer timeout with the Crimson up, 23-21. Harvard went up by four at 27-23 on a kill by junior Erik Kuld, one of his 12 on the afternoon, as Harvard went on to win, 30-25.

The second set started off like the first, with Harvard finding itself down, 10-7. The lead for Sacred Heart stretched to four points at 14-10 on a Crimson attack error, but Harvard eventually took the lead back at 17-16 when Weintraub and junior Soren Rosier blocked a Pioneer attack. Mansour threw down a kill to make it 22-20, but the Crimson would call a timeout after Sacred Heart won four points within a five-serve span to go up, 27-26. The Crimson took the lead back, but the Pioneers killed off match serve to tie it at 30-30. Back-to-back blocks then gave Sacred Heart the 32-30 win.

The Crimson turned things around in the third set, jumping out early to a 10-4 lead on a Weissbourd service ace. With Jones on serve, Harvard won six points in a row to push the lead into double digits, 16-5. A 5-2 run by the Pioneers cut the lead back down to nine at 18-9, but Harvard would keep pouring it on. Jones contributed three kills within a four-serve span for a 27-11 advantage, while Weissbourd finished the set off with a kill for the 30-13 win.

Sacred Heart stayed with the Crimson early in the fourth set, as an 8-6 deficit for the Pioneers quickly turned into an 11-9 lead. Weissbourd knocked down a kill, one of his eight in the set, followed by a service ace to tie it up at 13-13. The Crimson maintained a short lead until four straight points put the team up, 20-15. The Pioneers would hold steady until Harvard ran off five-straight points, the last four coming on Sacred Heart attack errors, with Nathan on serve to go up, 28-19. The lead proved too insurmountable for the Pioneers, as Jones finished the match and gave Harvard the 30-21 fourth-set win with a kill.

Harvard concludes the regular season Friday, April 17 at Rutgers-Newark beginning at 7 p.m.