Rutgers-Newark Tops Harvard for Hay Title Split

NEWARK, N.J.— Senior right side Kenny Rienecker notched 13 kills and Rutgers-Newark hit .337 as a team to down the Harvard men’s volleyball team, 3-0 (30-28, 30-25, 30-23), Friday night at The Golden Dome, giving the Scarlet Raiders a share of the EIVA Hay Division championship and the division’s top seed in the EIVA Conference Championship.

The Scarlet Raiders (9-13, 6-2 EIVA Hay Division) tied the Crimson (11-7, 6-2) for the division crown but claimed the top seed on a tiebreaker after the splitting their season series with Harvard. The result ended a four-match winning streak for Harvard and a seven-match losing streak for Rutgers-Newark. Both teams will advance to the tournament, along with the six teams from the EIVA Tait Division.

Senior middle blocker Brady Weissbourd and freshman outside hitter Matt Jones paced Harvard with nine kills apiece, but the Crimson was limited to .198 hitting. Weissbourd also led the team with six digs, while junior Gil Weintraub handed out 26 assists and junior Soren Rosier recorded four blocks. Jones accounted for 11 points to lead the Crimson.

Rutgers-Newark junior outside hitter Nate Stott posted match highs of 15 points and nine digs with 10 kills, a match-high four aces and two blocks. Junior middle hitter Jon Keller hit .636 with nine kills and two errors in just 11 swings and added two aces, a solo block and a match-high four assisted blocks.

In Set 1, the balanced Raiders won despite being outhit, .258 to .200. Rutgers-Newark looked in control early, getting out to a 14-8 lead. The Crimson won the next three points on Raider error and kills by junior Erik Kuld and Weissbourd. Harvard eventually trimmed the lead to 29-28 on a kill by Jones and a Raider attack error, but a Kenneth Stumbaugh kill ended the frame.

Liran Shapiro had 15 of his 43 assists in the second set as the Raiders hit .452 to take command of the contest. Kenny Rienecker hammered down five kills without an error on just eight attacks to lead the way. Weissbourd had five kills and Jones had four in the set as the Crimson hit a solid .250. Harvard was within two points for much of the set, but Rutgers-Newark won four of the final five points to take a 2-0 lead in sets.

In the third frame, a Weintraub block made it 4-4 and the set remained close at 12-10 before Rutgers-Newark went on a 7-1 run. A Raider service error and a Weintraub ace stopped the spurt and Harvard would again cut the deficit to four at 25-21 on a Jones ace, but Rutgers-Newark then won five straight points. The Crimson survived two match points before the Scarlet Raiders finished off the match to take a share of the division title.