The Crimson captured its sixth home win of the season over Erskine on Saturday (photo courtesy Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard men's volleyball team captured its 11th straight home victory with a straight-set defeat of Erskine College, 25-20, 25-23, 25-19, on Saturday afternoon in the Malkin Athletic Center. The Crimson used a .226 hitting percentage and nine blocks to top the Flying Fleet (13-14) and improve to 13-7 on the year.
Sophomore DJ White led Harvard with 10 kills on .278 hitting and two aces, while junior Nick Madden delivered eight kills, a match-high six blocks and team-best four digs. Senior setter Rob Lothman distributed 26 assists and matched Madden's four digs.
The Crimson jumped out to an early three-point lead and held the advantage until the Flying Fleet capped a 5-1 run with one of Mike Kawa's match-leading 12 kills to briefly grab the lead, 12-11. White answered with a kill on the following play and Lothman put Harvard back on top, 13-12, with the first of six aces by the Crimson. Lothman guided the offense to a .300 hitting percentage in the first set, as Harvard used the momentum to stretch its lead to four and go up one set.
Harvard produced another .300 hitting output to win a back-and-forth second set. After leading 2-1, the Crimson trailed or was tied until 21-20, when junior Kyle Rehkemper's kill gave Harvard the first of three lead changes in the final nine points occurred. Two errors put the Flying Fleet back on top, 22-21, before Madden and freshman Branden Clemens secured points to regain control, 23-22. Erskine evened the match with a kill on the following point, but committed two errors to put Harvard in control of the match, 2-0.
Harvard never looked back in set three, grabbing six of the first eight points in the deciding stanza. Erskine was able to pull within two at 17-15, but a block by junior Will Chambers and Madden ignited five straight points for the Crimson, who cruised to a 25-19 win.
The Crimson returns to the court on Friday, April 5, at 7 p.m. against Princeton. The contest is the first of four consecutive home conference matches for Harvard.