Shaun Mansour (pictured) won his final match with the Crimson, topping NJIT, 3-1 (Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard men's volleyball team ended the 2011 season on a positive note, as the Crimson and lone senior Shaun Mansour, who was honored before the match, defeated NJIT, 3-1, Saturday at the Malkin Athletic Center. The Crimson finish the season with a 9-13, 1-7 Hay record with eight wins coming on the Crimson's home court.
In a rematch between squads that played just last week at NJIT, the opening set saw the teams trade points early, tying the score at 7-7. The Crimson were able to take nine of the next 12 points behind kills from Matt Jones, Chris Gibbons and Kyle Rehkemper, who also added a service ace to give Harvard a 16-10 lead, forcing a Highlander timeout.
Rehkemper followed the break in play with another service ace, before NJIT reeled off four straight to close the gap to 17-14. Jones, Gibbons and Mansour though, would each notch kills and the Highlanders would commit errors on four of the last five points of the set, giving Harvard a 25-19 set victory.
The Crimson stormed out in the second set as Jones and Gibbons, who each had four kills in the first set, each slammed home another to give Harvard a 2-0 lead. Michael Owen extended the Crimson lead to 5-1 with one of his two service aces in the match.
The Highlanders clawed their way back, taking an 18-16 lead, but two more Jones kills, followed by another from Rehkemper put Harvard back on top, 19-18. Jones would tally two more kills late in the set and put Harvard up 2-0 with a 25-21 win in the second.
A Crimson victory seemed imminent as it led 20-16 late in the third set. Unfortunately, Kevin Van Oss found his hitting stroke for the Highlanders and the Crimson committed a slew of errors, as NJIT secured a 25-23 victory in comeback fashion.
Harvard quickly recovered and shifted the momentum back in its favor, rushing out to a 12-2 lead on the Highlanders in the fourth set. NJIT got as close as 22-15 late in the set, but Mansour provided the storybook ending to his career, hitting the match-clinching kill for the Crimson. Mansour finished with a season-high six kills and four digs.
Jones racked up a match-high 24 kills, attacking at a 44 percent clip. Jones also added two service aces, five digs and six blocking assists. Gibbons also reached double-digit kills for Harvard, finishing with 13, to go with 11 digs and a blocking assist. Derek Jansma tallied 27 assists, while teammate Rob Lothman had 24. Rehkemper, who finished the match with eight kills, had one solo block and six blocking assists. Van Oss paced the Highlanders with 16 kills in the match.