Harvard Men’s Volleyball Extends Winning Streak to Five; Defeats Cal Baptist 3-1

Harvard Men’s Volleyball Extends Winning Streak to Five; Defeats Cal Baptist 3-1

Lothman, Gibbons and Madden all played an integral role in Harvard's 3-1 victory over Cal Baptist on Weds. night. (Gil Talbot)

The Harvard men's volleyball team extended its winning streak to five games, claiming a 3-1 victory over Cal Baptist at the Malkin Athletic Center Wednesday night. Thanks to the offense of senior Matt Jones and freshman DJ White, Harvard upped its record to 5-0, its best start since the 1993 season where it went 12-0 to begin the campaign.

It was a close contest in the beginning of the first set with the score sitting at 7-7, as the two teams evened the score five times through the first 14 points. Harvard gained a little breathing room with the score 10-10 as it received back to back points off a Kristopher Johnson service error and a service ace by sophomore Nick Madden. The Crimson reached the 20-point plateau off a White kill making the score 20-17. Harvard closed out the set on a 6-3 run which was capped off by back to back kills from Madden and Jones to take a 1-0 lead in the match, recording a 25-20 win.

The Lancers fought back in the second set however overcoming a 7-6 Harvard lead with three-straight points, as Corey Bates recorded two kills to push the score to 9-7 in Cal Baptist's favor. A kill from sophomore Rob Lothman and service ace from freshman John Manzo cut the Lancer lead to 13-12, but Cal Baptist wouldn't let go of the advantage going on a 12-7 run to record its first win of the match, winning the set 25-19.

Harvard looked to make a statement in the third set as it recorded four straight points to open up, with sophomore Will Chambers and Jones recording kills, followed by two service aces making it 4-0. A Kevin Kustra kill and attack error by Jones cut into the Harvard lead, putting the score at 10-8 Crimson. The Lancers kept the pressure on recording four–straight points, as Daniel Frietas and Aaron McCalmont recorded kills to make the score 15-15. Harvard's resiliency showed through scoring three of the next four points, to retake the lead, 18-16, and the Crimson didn't look back as it scored seven of the next 14 points to slip by with the set win, 25-23.

In the fourth set the Crimson once again jumped on the Lancers early opening up with a 10-4 lead behind the offense of Jones, Madden and White. Harvard didn't let off on the pressure either, as Madden pushed the score to 17-11 off a kill assisted by Lothman. The two squads battled the rest of the way the rest of the way going each scoring eight points, but Harvard secured the set, 25-19, and the match, 3-1.

Jones was once led the team with 22  kills and a hitting percentage of .500. White was second on the team registering 12. Freshman Caleb Zimmick and Jones paced the Crimson in blocks with six apiece and Lothman recorded 44 total assists to end his evening.

Harvard will enter conference play this weekend as it hosts EIVA rivals George Mason and Princeton on Friday and Saturday. Friday's match is slated for 7 p.m. while Saturday's contest will begin at 1 p.m.