Men's Volleyball Blocks Its Way Past Sacred Heart, 3-1

Men's Volleyball Blocks Its Way Past Sacred Heart, 3-1

Zimmick's career night helped the Crimson remain perfect at home (Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – It took longer than usual but the result was the same as the Harvard men's volleyball team defeated Sacred Heart Wednesday night, 3-1, to remain unbeaten at home.

The Crimson (12-4, 6-3 EIVA) won its 10th straight match at the Malkin Athletic Center and fifth of the year by set scores of 25-16, 25-16, 21-25 and 31-29. This marked the first time all season and only the second time during its win streak that Harvard did not finish off its opponent in straight sets.

Nick Madden, Branden Clemens and DJ White each finished the night with double-digit kills, with Madden's 16 kills and .438 hitting percentage leading the way. Clemens chipped in 13 kills and a .435 hitting percentage as White added 10 kills while hitting .308. Rob Lothman dished out 46 assists as the Crimson combined to hit .389, marking the sixth time this season that Harvard has hit above .300 for a match.

The Crimson received strong play from its defense as well, holding Sacred Heart (2-14, 1-8 EIVA) to a .169 hitting percentage thanks in part to 13 total blocks. Caleb Zimmick led the charge with a career-high tying nine blocks while Clemens added four. Seven different members of Harvard's lineup registered at least one block on the night, with six notching at least two. Chris Gibbons added 12 digs to the defensive efforts with Clemens and Madden each chipping in eight.

Harvard jumped out to an 8-4 lead in the first set and extended its margin to seven, 16-9, on back-to-back kills from Madden and White. The Pioneers edged closer, bringing the score to 20-15, but not before Kyle Rehkemper could give the Crimson set point with a pair of aces, 25-16.

Harvard picked up in the second set where it left off in the first, opening an 11-3 lead right off the bat after Clemens, Zimmick and Lothman teams up for four blocks in a span of five points. A kill by Clemens put the score at 20-12 and yet another block, this time by Zimmick and White, gave the Crimson match point, 25-16.

Sacred Heart rallied to upset the host in the third set, 25-21, setting up a see-saw fourth frame. Harvard led early, 8-4, but the Pioneers battled back to take a 13-12 advantage. After six tied scores and three lead changes, Sacred Heart held a 23-11 margin heading into the stretch run. Consecutive errors by the Pioneers evented the score at 23, but Sacred Heart earned a shot at match point thanks to a Crimson blocking error, 24-23. The teams went back and forth for 12 more points until Harvard finally gained the upper hand, scoring match point following a Madden kill and Pioneer error, 31-29.

Harvard will now head out west for three matches in California. The Crimson will first take on No. 11 UC Santa Barabara Friday, March 15 at 10 p.m. before facing No. 12 Cal Baptist and Concordia on Monday and Tuesday.