The five all-conference honors are the most in program history (photo courtesy Zack Williamson).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – After clinching a spot in the EIVA tournament for the third straight season, the Harvard men's volleyball team has been rewarded with five All-EIVA selections, including three first team recipients.
Nick Madden, DJ White and Caleb Zimmick were each named to the first team while Nick Bendell and Kyle Rehkemper picked up second team accolades. The five student-athletes guided the Crimson to a program-best 11 wins in EIVA action with an 11-3 conference mark to finish second in league play. The all-conference honorees also aided Harvard to its third straight EIVA tournament and fourth in the Brian Baise era.
Harvard's five All-EIVA honors mark the most in program history. The total surpasses the Crimson's previous record of four set by the 2012-13 squad.
Madden, an outside hitter from San Diego, Calif., ranks second on the squad with 2.17 dps and 2.57 kps while hitting .237. The senior, co-captain has totaled 165 digs this season, which lands ninth on the Crimson' season annals, and notched double-digit kills in 10 matches to post three double-doubles this year. The first-team accolades, which are the first of Madden's career, adds to his growing list of commendations, as he was named EIVA Defensive Player of the Week for three straight weeks March 10, 17 and 24.
White, a junior, has been honored on the first team each of the last three seasons. A 6-5 outside hitter, White averaged 0.22 aces per set, 1.74 dps, 0.43 bps with a .325 hitting clip and ranked nationally in kills per set with a team-best 3.37. The Hermosa Beach, Calif., native led the Harvard attack in 12 matches this year including 26 kills at then-No. 13 Ball State March 16, the most by a single player in the EIVA this season and by the Crimson since Madden tallied 27 March 13, 2012 against Cal-Baptist. White was named the best offensive and defensive player over a seven day stretch once this season.
Zimmick, who was named to the All-EIVA second team a year ago, turned in a .434 hitting percentage, good for seventh in the country and second in the conference, while recording the 15th-best block per set average (1.10) in the NCAA. The junior middle blocker who calls Middleton, Wis., home, recorded at least three blocks in 16 of Harvard's 22 matches this season, including a career-high 12 versus Concordia Feb. 25. Zimmick added 13 kills to his 12-block effort against the Eagles to pick up his first career double-double.
Bendell delivered the 20th best assists per set average (9.91) in the nation and third in the EIVA during his first collegiate campaign. The Orland Park, Ill., local helped the Crimson hit .300 or better in 13 matches to led Harvard to the nation's 13th-best hitting percentage (.289). The rookie setter's 65 assists at Ball State are the third most in a single match at Harvard and the most by any player in a single match in the league this season. With the 65-assist performance, Bendell became the first member of the Crimson to reach the 60 assist plateau since Connor Gaughan '02 did so in 1999 against Eastern Mennonite. With 773 helpers, Bendell has already written his name in Harvard's season and career annals. To go along with his second team nod, Bendell was named to Off the Block/Springback Inc. Freshmen All-America Team.
Rehkemper contributed the team's second highest hitting percentage (.453) en route to his second team accolades. The senior from Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., shined at the net as well, producing the eighth highest blocks per set average (0.83) in the conference and second on the squad. The middle blocker hit at least .333 on 17 occasions this season and totaled at least five blocks nine times, and was named EIVA Defensive Player of the Week Feb. 10. This is the second All-EIVA honor of Rehkeper's career.
Harvard's season will continue in the EIVA Tournament Thursday, April 24. The second-seeded Crimson will take the court against the third-seeded Princeton Tigers at 5:30 p.m. at Penn State's Rec Hall.