Gibbon's eight digs helped Harvard to a 3-0 win over Sacred Heart (photo courtesy Ben Barnhart).
FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The Harvard men's volleyball team opened conference play in resounding fashion Friday night, defeating Sacred Heart in straight sets at the William H. Pitt Center. The victory came by scores of 25-17, 25-18, 25-19.
Junior DJ White tallied nine kills and a .261 hitting percentage to lead the attack. Freshman Casey White contributed five kills while junior Caleb Zimmick and seniors Nick Madden and Kyle Rehkemper each added three. Freshman Nick Bendell handled Harvard's (2-3, 1-0 EIVA) setting duties.
Seniors Chris Gibbons and Rehkemper were at the forefront of the Crimson's defensive efforts as Sacred Heart (3-5, 0-1 EIVA) was limited to a -0.47 hitting percentage, the lowest total for a Harvard opponent this season. Gibbons totaled eight digs on the evening as Rehkemper chipped in six total blocks.
Sacred Heart was paced by senior Brad Borsay's seven kills and sophomore AJ Logosh's six digs.
After recording the first three points of the set, Harvard jumped out to a 5-1 lead, but the Pioneers kept the score close. A DJ White kill gave the Crimson a 16-13 lead and Harvard never looked back, outscoring Sacred Heart 9-4 to take the frame, 25-17.
The second set mirrored the first as the Crimson recorded the first three points. The Pioneers tallied two quick scores to come within one, but Harvard surged on a 14-5 run to stretch its advantage to 17-7. Sacred Heart responded with a 6-2 run to make it a three point set, 19-16. Action went back and forth and remained a three-point set, 21-18, before the Crimson scored the final four points to put the set away, 25-18.
Harvard held a 4-1 advantage early in the final set before a 5-2 spurt by the Pioneers knotted the score, 6-6. The Crimson responded out of its own timeout, this time using a 7-4 stretch to grab a 13-10 edge. Leading 18-15, the Crimson embarked on an 8-3 run down the stretch and put the frame away on a kill by DJ White, 25-19.
Harvard returns to action next week as it hosts its first EIVA contest of the year at the Malkin Athletic Center. The Crimson will first play Princeton Thursday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. and before entertaining Princeton Friday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m.