Men’s Volleyball Wins Five Set Thriller Against Princeton

With 17 kills, Madden led a quartet of Crimson who recorded double-digit kills (photo courtesy Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard men's volleyball team rode a .306 hitting percentage to a 3-2 win over Princeton in EIVA action Thursday night at the Malkin Athletic Center. The victory came by set scores of 25-20, 25-21, 20-25, 12-25 and 15-12.

Harvard, which improved to 3-3, 2-0 in EIVA, with the win, received double-digit kill efforts by a quartet of Crimson. Senior Nick Madden's 17 kills lead the way while junior Caleb Zimmick notched 13. Freshman Casey White chipped in 11 and junior DJ White rounded out the foursome with 10. Zimmick finished the night hitting a career-high .571 (13-1-21) as Madden posted a .351 percentage. Nick Bendell handled setting responsibilities as the freshman handed out a career-best 47 assists.

DJ White was one dig shy of his first double-double of the season recording nine to go with his kill total while C. White, Madden and senior Chris Gibbons added seven each. Senior Kyle Rehkemper and Zimmick led the charge at the net with three blocks each.

Princeton (0-5, 0-0 EIVA) was led offensively by senior Pat Schwagler who totaled a match-best 22 kills and .514 hitting clip. 

Harvard came out strong in the first set, earning a 25-20 victory behind six kills from Madden. On a Zimmick kill the Crimson jumped out to 14-11 lead and continued to stay out in front to eventually go up, 20-16. Princeton chipped away at the lead and came within two, 21-19, but Harvard used a 4-1 run to finish the set.

The Crimson jumped out to 4-1 lead in the second and was on top, 11-8, as the midway point approached. Leading 19-18, Harvard embarked on a 6-3 run down the stretch to put the frame away on a kill from DJ White, 25-21.

Princeton bounced-back and forced Harvard to play from behind in the third to force a fourth set. The Crimson trailed by as many as five, 17-12 before a 4-2 stretch, which featured two kills by C. White, pulled Harvard within three, 19-16. The Tigers finished the frame on a 6-4 run to steal the set, 25-20.

The Tigers led the entire way in the fourth and evened the match at two sets apiece with a 25-12 win. Harvard's home-court advantage proved to be the difference in the final frame, however, as the Crimson took an 8-6 lead at the midway point. An error from Princeton gave Harvard the match, 15-12.

Harvard returns to action Sunday, Feb. 16 when it hosts George Mason at 3 p.m. at the MAC.