Lothman (right) recorded a season-high 51 assists helping the Crimson take down Princeton 3-0 to earn its first EIVA conference victory of the season.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. –The Harvard men's volleyball team got 29 kills from its freshmen starters, DJ White and Caleb Zimmick, and defeated Princeton in three sets (28-26, 25-23, 25-20) at the Malkin Athletic Center, Saturday afternoon. White paced the Crimson with 18 kills, and Zimmick was a force in the middle with four blocks helping the Crimson to improve to 6-1 and 1-1 in EIVA play.
The Tigers and Crimson played a tight first set that saw 21 tied scores throughout. Harvard took its first lead of the set off a kill by Zimmick making it 5-4. Princeton evened it at 5-5 on the very next play with a Davis Waddell kill. The two teams continued to trade points throughout the set as Harvard received offense from senior Matt Jones, junior Nick Madden, and sophomore Will Chambers. With Harvard leading 17-15, the Tigers scored two straight points off kills by Cody Kessel and Michael Dye to square the set at 17-17. Harvard forced set-point at 24-23 as Jones slammed down a kill but the Tigers wouldn't go down without a fight. evening the score three times, before back-to-back kills from White and Madden closed out the set, 28-26 in favor of the Crimson.
The Tigers jumped out to a quick 4-1 lead in the second set off two kills by Will Siroky as well as several attack errors on the Crimson. Later in the set a Michael Owen service error gave Princeton the 13-8 lead. Harvard fought back, receiving inspiring play from Zimmick who tallied three kills and three blocks helping to put the Crimson up 19-15. The Tigers scored four-straight points to knot the score up at 19-19, but Harvard didn't wait long to pull back out in front scoring two-straight points off of kills from Chambers and Jones and scored four of the next eight points to close out its second set of the afternoon, 25-23.
Harvard rode the momentum of its second set comeback victory into the third set getting on the Tigers early with a 4-1 lead, sparked by kills by Madden and White. Princeton made it closer off a kill by Siroky pushing the score to 10-8, Crimson. Harvard didn't relent however, scoring 10 of the next 15 points to extend its lead to 20-13. The Tigers mounted yet another comeback as Kessel, Siorky and an attack error by Madden made the score 20-16, however the Crimson stayed in control of the set scoring five of the next nine points winning the set, 25-20 and the match, 3-0.
White had the best day of his young career recording a season-high 18 kills and a hitting percentage of .739(18 kills on 23 attempts). Zimmick bested White's hitting percentage tallying a .786 percentage (11 kills on 14 attempts). Jones was second on the team in kills with 16 while junior Rob Lothman his best day this season recording 51 assists.
Harvard will now prepare itself for a tough test next weekend when it takes on No. 5 Penn State at the Malkin Athletic Center on Friday night, followed by Saint Francis (Pa.) on Saturday afternoon. Friday's match is slated for 7 p.m. while Saturday is a 4 p.m. start.