The Crimson registered its fourth consecutive straight-set victory Saturday at Rutgers-Newark (Ben Barnhardt).
NEWARK, N.J. – Branden Clemens led a potent offensive attack as the No. 15 Harvard men's volleyball team rolled to its sixth straight win Saturday night at Rutgers-Newark, 3-0. The straight-set victory came by scores of 25-15, 28-26 and 25-18.
Harvard remained within one-half game of the top spot in the EIVA thanks in large part to an attack which posted a .445 hitting percentage, its second highest of the season. The Crimson is now 9-2 overall and 5-1 in the conference, behind only No. 9 Penn State which boasts a 6-1 record in the EIVA.
Clemens scored a match-high 12 kills and committed only two errors en route to a .625 hitting percentage. The freshman also turned in three aces, three digs and two blocks.
DJ White and Caleb Zimmick added eight kills apiece while Rob Lothman and Derek Jansma distributed 20 assists and 14 assists, respectively. Lothman also paced the defensive efforts with four total blocks, including two solo, while Chris Gibbons contributed six digs.
Rutgers-Newark (2-6, 0-4 EIVA) was limited to a .259 hitting percentage and was led by Manuel Flipez's 11-kill effort.
It was all Harvard in the first set as the Crimson held a comfortable led through the midway point of the frame. Leading 13-10, the Crimson rattled off three straight points for a 16-10 advantage. Following two points for the host, Harvard finished the stanza on a 9-3 run and registered set point, 25-15, on a kill by Clemens.
The second set featured nine tied scores but only one lead for Rutgers-Newark. Harvard held a 20-16 edge heading into the stretch run but the Scarlet Knights fought back to tie the score at 22-22. With the set still knotted at 26-26, Michael Owen gave the Crimson a chance at set point which White capitalized on, giving Harvard the win, 28-26.
Rutgers-Newark carried the momentum early in the third set and held a 14-11 advantage at the midway point. Four straight points for the Crimson, which included three Clemens aces, put Harvard in front by one, 15-14, and a 3-0 stretch capped by a White and Zimmick block moved the score to 18-15. Harvard then closed the frame on a 7-3 stretch, scoring match point on an ace from White, 25-18.
Harvard will be back in action next weekend with a pair of key EIVA matchups. The Crimson will first take to the court at George Mason Friday, March 1 at 7 p.m. before playing at Princeton Saturday, March 2, at 4 p.m. The Patriots and Tigers are currently tied for third place in the conference standings with identical 3-2 EIVA marks.