Men's Volleyball to Host No. 9 Penn State, St. Francis (Pa.)

Men's Volleyball to Host No. 9 Penn State, St. Francis (Pa.)

The Crimson continues its homestand with two matches this weekend (Ben Barnhart).

The Storyline
The Harvard men's volleyball team will face two of the top teams in the EIVA this weekend as it faces No. 9 Penn State and St. Francis (Pa). The Crimson will first welcome the Nittany Lions to Cambridge Friday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. before meeting the Red Flash Saturday, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m.

A live video stream featuring play-by-play man Andy Towne will be available through by clicking here. Live stats will be available by clicking here.

Last Time Out
The Harvard men's volleyball team opened its home schedule with a win Tuesday night, taking down Rivier 3-1 at the Malkin Athletic Center. The Crimson knocked off the Raiders by set scores of 25-15, 18-25, 25-18 and 25-16. Branden Clemens and Nick Madden led the way for the Crimson as each registered 14 kills.

Related Link: Men's Volleyball Records 3-1 Win Over Rivier To Open Home Schedule

Around the League
Harvard is currently in third place of the EIVA standings with a 1-1 conference mark and a 5-2 overall record. The Crimson ranks third in the conference in kills (12.12 kps), hitting percentage (.238), assists (11.46 aps) and blocks (2.60 bps), and is fourth in digs (9.00 dps).

Individually, Branden Clemens boasts the eighth best kills per set average at 3.04 and is fourth in the conference with a .358 hitting percentage. Rob Lothman ranks third among setters with 9.81 aps while Chris Gibbons comes in fifth among liberos with 2.42 dps. Caleb Zimmick and Kyle Rehkemper, meanwhile, are second and sixth in the conference with 1.27 bps and 1.00 bps, respectively.

Scouting No. 9 Penn State
Penn State enters the weekend ranked ninth in the country with a 9-2 overall record and a conference leading 3-0 mark in the EIVA. The Nittany Lions ranks second in the league in kills (12.35 kps), hitting percentage (.275), and assists (11.62), but are fourth in blocks (2.06 bps) and sixth in digs (8.90 dps).

Tom Comfort and Aaron Russell rank among the EIVA's best on the attack as they average 3.15 kps and 2.94 kps, respectively, with hitting percentages of .284 and .272. Taylor Hammond leads the conference in assists (10.88 aps), while Connor Curry ranks third with 2.55 dps. Nick Turko is the Nittany Lions leading blocker with 0.94 bps.

Scouting St. Francis (Pa.)
St. Francis sits in fourth place of the conference standings with a 4-8 overall record and a 1-2 mark in EIVA play. The Red Flash ranks just fifth in the league with 11.60 kps and is sixth in assists at 10.86 aps, but is fourth with a .223 hitting percentage. St. Francis is also ranked fifth in blocks (2.02 bps) and seventh digs (8.57 dps).

Logan Patterson leads the St. Francis attack with 3.76 kps, good for fourth in the EIVA, while Mike Krepp ranks seventh with 9.00 aps. Nick Bancroft's 2.52 dps average is fourth in the conference while Adam Roche's 0.98 bps has him ranked eighth.

MAC Attack
Harvard is 17-6 in the friendly confines of the Malkin Athletic Center since the start of 2011 including a 1-0 mark this year.  The Crimson has won five straight matches at home dating back to last season and has captured each of its last three home openers.

Block Party
The Crimson recorded 17.5 blocks at No. 6 Penn State, the team's highest total over the last three seasons. Caleb Zimmick led the way with eight total blocks as Michael Owen and Kyle Rehkemper each turned in seven. Nick Madden and Rob Lothman also got in on the action, registering six blocks and four blocks, respectively.

Harvard's season high for blocks in 2012 was 17 at Rutgers-Newark.

Quick Start
Harvard swept Stevens, NYU and St. Francis (Pa.) to open the year, marking the third straight season that the Crimson has started the year with at least two victories. Harvard's three straight-set victories, meanwhile, had not been accomplished since 1993 when the squad posted four sweeps in its first four matches.

Award Winner
DJ White was named the EIVA Offensive Player of the Week Jan. 22 after leading Harvard to a pair of sweeps to open the season. White averaged 4.67 kps, 1.67 dps and 1.00 bps while hitting .420 on the weekend, including a 19-kill performance at Stevens. The sophomore now boasts two career EIVA Offensive Player of the Week honors after also receiving the award once as a freshman.

Catch the Crimson in 2012
Harvard will host 11 home matches at the Malkin Athletic Center this season and each will be streamed live online through Fans can also watch each match On Demand approximately two hours after completion. One-year subscriptions are available for $49.95 and allow access to every home event streamed by the Crimson, including football, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's hockey and men's soccer. For more information or to sign up today, click here.

Captaining the Ship
Rob Lothman and Nick Madden will serve as the team's captains for the 2013 season. Lothman was named to the All-EIVA second team in 2012 after setting a career-high with 888 assists, the fifth-best single-season total in program history. Lothman directed the Crimson attack to a .298 hitting percentage, which ranked seventh in the NCAA, while his 10.1 assists per set were good for 18th in the nation. Madden, meanwhile, started all 24 matches last year for the Crimson and ranked second on the squad in kills (3.01) and points (3.6). His 268 kills in 2012 were good for eighth in program history while his 147 career blocks rank his sixth all-time.

Banner Year
Harvard is coming off one of the most successful seasons in program history, as the Crimson earned its first-ever national ranking in 2012 and finished the year at No. 15 in the AVCA Coaches Poll. Harvard posted an 18-6 overall record and took second in the EIVA with a 10-4 conference mark, with the team's 18 wins representing the third-highest total ever.

Head coach Brian Baise was tabbed as the EIVA Coach of the Year as a result of the squad's success while Matt Jones, DJ White and Rob Lothman all earned all-conference accolades.