The Crimson won its seventh straight match at the MAC (photo courtesy Zack Williamson).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Trailing 18-12 in the third set, the No. 15 Harvard men's volleyball team rallied a comeback to take the set, 26-24, and secure the sweep over Sacred Heart Friday night at the Malkin Athletic Center. The victory came by set scores, 25-17, 26-24 and 26-24.
The win marks Harvard's (12-6, 8-2 EIVA) sixth straight set victory of the season and seventh consecutive win at home.
For the third straight match and 11th time this season DJ White lead the Crimson's attack as the junior scored 13 kills. The Hermosa Beach, Calif., native contributed 12 digs on the defensive end to notch his third double-double of the season and fourth of his career. Classmate Caleb Zimmick chipped in seven kills while brother Casey White recorded six. Freshman Nick Bendell handled the setting duties with 25 assists. Seniors Nick Madden and Kyle Rehkmper added to the Harvard defensive efforts with 13 digs and eight blocks, respectively.
The Sacred Heart (8-14, 2-8) offense was led by redshirt-junior Enzo Mackenzie's match-high 14 kills.
Harvard capitalized on four Sacred Heart attack errors to take an early 7-4 edge to open the first frame. The Crimson used kills from DJ White, C. White and Rehkemper to build on its lead, 12-8, and force a Pioneers timeout. Out of the break, Harvard never let up and took its largest lead of the night, 21-14, following a 9-3 run that featured two C. White kills. A service error from Sacred Heart's freshman Christopher Delucie gave the Crimson the frame, 25-17.
Tied at 3-3, Harvard rallied behind Madden at the service line for three straight points to take a 6-3 advantage. The Crimson's lead was short lived, however, as Sacred Heart answered with a 3-0 spurt of its own to tie the match, 6-6. The score flipped flopped and would equalize four more times before an ace by DJ White put Harvard in front, 11-10. The Crimson's edge dwindled as the Pioneer's scored five of the next nine points to earn its first lead of the night, 16-14. A block by Bendell and Caleb Zimmick knotted the set for the 11th time and spurred a 3-0 Crimson run, putting the score back in favor of the host's, 18-16. The see-saw action continued for the remainder of frame with neither team holding a definite advantage. Harvard benefited from two back-to-back Sacred Heart errors that put the set away, 26-24.
The Pioneers held a 7-3 early lead in the third frame and continued its momentum en route to hold an 18-12 edge. Following a monstrous kill from DJ White, the Crimson went on a 9-3 stretch capped off by a block by DJ White, Michael Owen and Ryekmper to tie the set, 21-21. An attack error from Sacred Heart's Jason Kinney gave Harvard its first lead of the set, 23-22, before back-and-forth action ensued. Out of a timeout, trailing 24-23, the Crimson rattled off three straight points to seal the victory, 26-24.
Harvard returns to the MAC next weekend for its final home weekend of the regular season. The Crimson will host No. 13 Penn State in its second annual EIVA Rallies Night and student rewards match Friday, April 4 at 7 p.m., before honoring the Class of 2014 on Senior Night Saturday, April 5 at 4 p.m. against Saint Francis (Pa.).