The Crimson ended Penn State's 51-match EIVA win streak with a sweep at home (Ben Barnhart).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard men's volleyball team earned arguably the biggest win in program history Friday night as it knocked off No. 9 Penn State, 3-0, to end the Nittany Lions streak of 51 consecutive EIVA victories. The win came by set scores of 25-23, 25-17 and 25-23.
The win was the first ever for the Crimson over the Nittany Lions and is the team's second win over a top-15 opponent in the last two years. Penn State's last loss in the EIVA came on March 7, 2008 to George Mason, 3-1.
Harvard (6-2, 2-1 EIVA) hit a season-high .457 while holding Penn State (9-3, 3-1 EIVA) to a .244 percentage. DJ White returned to the Crimson lineup to score 13 kills with a .500 hitting percentage as Nick Madden added 10 kills. Branden Clemens notched nine kills to go along with seven kills and five blocks from Caleb Zimmick. Rob Lothman dished out 40 assists while Chris Gibbons and White picked up five digs.
Penn State was led by Aaron Russell and Peter Russell who scored 11 kills and 10 kills, respectively.
The first set was close from beginning to end with Penn State taking the largest lead of the frame, 16-13. Harvard rallied with five straight points to earn an 18-16 advantage thanks to two kills and a block assist from Zimmick before the Nittany Lions came back to even the score at 20. A kill by Clemens and a Penn State error put Harvard up by two, 22-20, and timely kills by Kyle Rehkemper, Madden and Zimmick allowed the Crimson to take set point, 25-22.
Harvard used a 5-0 run early in the second set to open up a six point lead, 12-6. A kill by Rehkemper and block by Lothman pushed the margin to eight, 18-10, and White gave the Crimson set point, 25-17.
The third set was another close affair despite Harvard going in front, 12-8, following three straight Nittany Lion errors. Back-to-back kills by Madden and Clemens gave the Crimson a 19-13 edge, but Penn State rallied to pull back within two, 23-21. A Rehkemper kill gave Harvard its first chance at match point, 24-21, and White put the contest to bed with his 13th and final kill, 25-23.
The Crimson will be back in action tomorrow as it hosts St. Francis (Pa.) at 7 p.m.