The Crimson sits in second in the conference standings with a 7-2 mark (photo courtesy Zack Williamson).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The No. 15 Harvard men's volleyball team is set to welcome EIVA rival and travel partner Sacred Heart to the Malkin Athletic Center Friday, March 28 for a 7 p.m. showdown.
Scouting Scared Heart
The Pioneers sit seventh in the EIVA standings with a 2-7 conference mark and an 8-13 overall record. Sacred Heart picked up a straight set victory over the University of Puerto Rico March 20, but had suffered three straight losses before the triumph.
Sacred Heart ranks first in the EIVA in aces per set (1.61) and solo blocks (55), while also ranking third in digs (9.03). The Pioneers' kills per set, however, is seventh worst in the conference at 11.58.
Christopher Delucie and Brad Borsay lead Sacred Heart's attack with 3.30 kps each while Enzo Mackenzie contributes 2.66 kps. RJ Uhlir (9.30 aps) and Ben Thomas (7.03 aps) have split time as setter. AJ Logosh and Travis Vonholt pace the Pioneers defense with 2.32 dps and 1.28 bps, respectively.
Inside the Series with the Pioneers
Harvard has rattled off five straight victories over Sacred Heart to hold a 13-7 advantage in the all-time series that dates back to 1993. The Crimson has swept the Pioneers 13 times, including the team's first meeting this season. DJ White scored nine kills and hit .261 in the victory as Casey White chipped in four kills.
Related Link: Men's Volleyball Routs Sacred Heart in EIVA Opener, 3-0
Harvard returns to the MAC next week when it hosts No. 13 Penn State and Saint Francis (Pa.) in its final home weekend of the year. The Crimson will first be in action Friday, April 4 at 7 p.m. against the Nittany Lions in its second annual EIVA Rallies Night and student rewards match before hosting the Red Flash Saturday, April 5 at 4 p.m. on Senior Night.
Last Time Out
For the second time in as many days, Harvard's match went the distance as the Crimson rallied to take down then-No. 15 Ohio State in its non-conference finale at St. John's Arena March 18. The victory came by set scores of 25-15, 25-19, 20-25, 21-25 and 17-15.
The win was Harvard's fourth five-set victory of the season and masked the third time the Crimson has knocked off a top-15 opponent in the last three years. Ohio State, meanwhile, has dropped six of its last seven matches including three in five sets.
Four different Crimson posted double-digit kills led by junior DJ White who scored 13 and tallied 10 digs for his second double-double of the season and third overall. Senior Kyle Rehkemper contributed 12 kills on a .611 clip while classmate Nick Madden and freshman Casey White each chipped in 11. Rookie Nick Bendell dished out 50 assists as Harvard's primary setter.
Defensively, Harvard turned away 13 Ohio attempts at the net paced by six blocks from junior Caleb Zimmick. Madden and Rehkemper turned in five blocks each, while C. White and Bendell contributed to the defensive effort with seven digs apiece.
Related Link: Men's Volleyball Takes Down No. 15 Ohio State in Five
Where We Stand
At 7-2, Harvard is tied for second with Princeton in the EIVA standings behind No. 13 Penn State which sits atop the league with a 6-1 conference mark. St. Francis' (Pa.) 4-3 record is good for fourth while George Mason lands fifth at 4-4. NJIT comes in at sixth with a 2-6 ledger. Sacred Heart (2-7) and Rutgers-Neark (0-7) round out the standings in seventh and eighth, respectively.
The Crimson started EIVA play at 6-1 for the first time in program history. With the sweep of Rutgers-Newark and NJIT, Harvard displaced its prior record to start league action of 5-2, set in 2012 en route to a 10-4 EIVA record and second place regular-season finish.
Rank and File
Following a 3-2 upset win over then-No. 15 Ohio State, Harvard re-entered the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division I-II poll at 15th March 23. The Crimson initially appeared in the poll at a program-best 13th Jan. 6, where it stayed for three weeks after knocking off two ranked opponents in pool play at the Asics Invitational to open its season.
Related Link: AVCA Division I-II National Poll
Harvard will host its second annual EIVA Rally Night Friday, April 4 against Penn State to help raise funds and awareness towards cancer research. The EIVA formed the "EIVA Rallies" campaign last year to benefit the Memorial Sloan-Keetering Cancer Center. For more information or to make a donation, please click here.
And the Award Goes To
Harvard has earned six EIVA weekly awards this season with three Crimson student-athletes garnering the honor.
Nick Madden has picked up three straight defensive player of the week nods, while DJ White has been named the best defensive and offensive player of the week. Kyle Rehkmper was tabbed the best defensive player over a seven-day stretch for his performance in Harvard's EIVA opener against Sacred Heart Feb. 7.
Related Links : DJ White Earns EIVA Defensive Player of the Week Honors | Rehkemper Named EIVA Defensive Player of the Week | Madden Tabbed EIVA Defensive Player of the Week | DJ White Madden Sweep EIVA Weekly Awards | Madden Picks Up Third Straight EIVA Defensive Player of the Week Honor
Two Harvard freshman have been named to Off the Block's National Freshman of the Week honorable mention list this season. Casey White earned a spot twice this year, picking up one accolade following his efforts in a 2-0 week for the Crimson Feb. 17 and again on March 3 after posting 2.25 kps, 1.13 dps and 0.25 bps in a 3-0 week for Harvard. Nick Bendell received the nod after a 50-assist performance that guided Harvard's offense to a .300 hitting percentage in a five-set upset victory over then-No. 15 Ohio State.
Related Link: Off the Block
The Crimson has hosted 55 opponents in 112 matches under the roof of the Malkin Athletic Center and boasts an 80-32 (.714) all-time mark at home. Harvard's home-court advantage includes a record-best nine-match win streak that lasted more than a calendar year between Feb. 18, 2012 to April 5, 2013. Currently the Crimson has won six-straight in the friendly confines of the MAC.
Caleb Zimmick hit a .889 clip in the team's 3-0 victory over Marymount (Va.), registering eight kills on nine attempts. The junior ranks third in the nation with a .453 hitting percentage and is first in the EIVA, while DJ White is 10th in the league with a .291 mark. As a team, the Crimson ranks 18th in the NCAA and fourth in the conference with a .277 percentage and has hit over .300 in a match 10 times this season.
DJ White has scored 186 kills this season, including a career-best 26 at then-No. 13 Ball State March 16, the most for a Crimson player since Nick Madden scored 27 in a 3-0 win at Cal-Baptist March 13, 2011. The junior's team-high 3.15 kps is the sixth best in the conference and 40th in the nation. As a team, Harvard notches the NCAA's 38th-best kills per set average with 11.82.
Harvard protected the net against Concordia, posting 21 total blocks, a season high and the most by a Crimson squad since matching that number in a 3-2 win over Princeton April 5, 2011. Currently, Harvard ranks No. 30 in the NCAA in blocks per set (2.12). On the individual list, Caleb Zimmick (1.08 bps) sits 20th.
Harvard has received six double-double efforts this season with Nick Madden contributing three. DJ White poured in back-to-back double-double efforts against Ball State March 16 and Ohio State March 18 while Caleb Zimmick notched his first career double-double against Concordia Feb. 16. Madden leads the six active Crimson who have notched a double-double in their career with seven.
The White Brothers
Casey and DJ White have been instrumental to the Crimson on both sides of the net this season. The Hermosa Beach, Calif., natives have combined for nearly one-third of Harvard's blocks (36-138), digs (177-622) and service aces (18-55). Offensively, the brothers have notched 42.6 percent (327-768) of the Crimson's attack.
Setting it Up
Nick Bendell has served as the Crimson's primary setter in his first collegiate campaign. Bendell has dished out 9.62 aps, which lands 24th in the NCAA and fourth in the EIVA.
Serving Up Aces
Senior Nick Madden has turned in a total of 15 aces this season, bringing his career total to 55, tying him for eighth place on Harvard's career list. The Crimson's 0.97 aces per set rank 29th in the NCAA. Classmate Kyle Rehkemper looks to enter the Crimson aces annals as the middle blocker has totaled 53.
Eight active players have already made a place for themselves in Harvard's record book. Chris Gibbons owns the top spot for career digs (727) while Will Chambers' .435 hitting percentage sits atop the career list. Nick Madden finds himself on five of the Crimson's career annals; third in block assists (206), kills (798) and digs (436), sixth in total blocks (226) and tied for eighth in aces (55). DJ White hasetched his name on four lists as the junior holds the seventh best hitting percentage (.308), total kills (672) and kills per set (3.00), and eighth best total digs (336). Kyle Rehkemper and Caleb Zimmick rank in the top-10 on three lists each. Rehkemper sits fifth in block assists (185), sixth in total blocks (207) and eighth in hitting percentage (.296). Zimmick lands fourth on each of the block lists with 36 solo blocks, 199 block assists and 225 total blocks. Michael Owen's 129 block assists and 139 total blocks are good for seventh and 10th, respectively, while Nick Bendell's 577 assists land eighth.
Related Link: Men's Volleyball Record Book
Seniors Chris Gibbons and Kyle Rehkemper earned spots on the 50th Asics Invitational All-Tournament team after helping Harvard down two ranked opponents – then-No. 5 Stanford and then-No. 8 UCSB – to reach the championship round of the invite. Rehkemper contributed to the Crimson's offense with 13 kills and a .792 hitting percentage while Gibbons registered nine digs.
Coming off an appearance in the EIVA Tournament championship, Harvard was been picked third in the 2014 EIVA Preseason Poll. The Crimson's third place pick is its highest ever finish in the poll with 23 points.
Defending champion Penn State was chosen to repeat, receiving seven of the eight first-place votes for nine points, while Princeton was selected second with a total of 20 points and the one remaining first-place vote. George Mason (32 points), St. Francis (Pa.) (38), NJIT (50), Sacred Heart (52) and Rutgers-Newark (64) rounded out the preseason rankings.
Related Link: Men's Volleyball Tabbed Third in EIVA Preseason Poll
Ivy League Digital Network
For the first time ever, each of Harvard's 11 home matches will be streamed in HD quality featuring a live scoreboard, new graphics package and play-by-play commentary through the Ivy League Digital Network. Subscribers to the network can watch matches both live and on-demand at their convenience, and will have access to live and on-demand content for all Harvard athletics events throughout the duration of their subscription.