The Crimson look to start a new winning streak Tuesday (photo courtesy Zach Williamson).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard men's volleyball team steps out of EIVA play as it hosts Concordia Tuesday, Feb. 25 at the Malkin Athletic Center at 7 p.m.
Last Time Out
Harvard had its four-match win streak snapped Saturday afternoon with a straight set loss at No. 12 Penn State. The Nittany Lions took the match by set scores of 25-19, 25-15 and 25-22.
Juniors DJ White and Caleb Zimmick scored nine kills and seven kills, respectively, for the Crimson, with Zimmick hitting a team-best .462. Freshman Nick Bendell dished out 23 assists. Defensively, seniors Chris Gibbons and Nick Madden led the Crimson with 12 digs each, while Zimmick added four blocks.
Rank and File
After knocking off two ranked opponents in pool play at the Asics Invitational Jan. 3, Harvard entered the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division I-II poll at a program-best 13th Jan. 6. The Crimson, which received votes in the preseason poll, remained in the national mix for three-straight weeks, and has since received votes each week.
Related Link: AVCA Division I-II National Poll
The Eagles (14-3) are coming off a 2-0 weekend at the Hall of Fame Tournament, where they stretched their win streak to 10 consecutive matches. Concordia has been paced by Naseri Tumanuvao's 2.85 kps, while Harrison Caroll and Parker Del Re have added 2.64 kps and 2.62 kps, respectively. Brett Anema has led the Eagles defensively with 0.96 bps, while Christopher Reams notching 2.02 dps at the libero position. Kevin Fiske has handled the majority of the setting duties with 8.70 aps.
Inside the Series with the Eagles
Harvard and Concordia will meet for the 13th time since 1992. The Crimson holds a 7-5 record all-time over the Eagles, but Concordia is 4-1 in the last five contests.
Last season, the two squads saw each other in Irvine, Calif., with Concordia taking the meeting in straight sets.
The Crimson rounds out its first rotation of EIVA action at home this weekend against Rutgers-Newark and NJIT. The Scarlet Raiders venture to Cambridge Friday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. while the Highlanders visit the MAC Saturday, March 1 at 4 p.m.
Harvard will host its second annual EIVA rally night Friday, April 4 against Penn State to help raise funds and awareness towards cancer research. The EIVA formed the "EIVA Rallies" campaign last year to benefit the Memorial Sloan-Keetering Cancer Center. For more information or to make a donation, please click here.
Matches at the MAC
The Crimson has hosted 54 opponents in 108 matches under the roof of the Malkin Athletic Center to boast a 76-32 (.704) all-time mark at home. Harvard's home court advantage includes a record-best nine-match home win streak that lasted more than a calendar year between Feb. 18, 2012 to April 5, 2013.
The White Brothers
Casey and DJ White have been instrumental to the Crimson on both sides of the net thus far this season. The Hermosa Beach, Calif., natives have combined for nearly a third of Harvard's blocks (23-64), digs (85-283) and service aces (12-31). Offensively, the brothers have notched .441 percent (160-363) of the Crimson's attack.
Setting it Up
Nick Bendell has served as the Crimson's primary setter in his first collegiate campaign. Bendell has dished out 9.19 aps, which lands 23rd in the NCAA and fourth in the EIVA, to lead Harvard to the nation's 23rd-best hitting percentage (.245).
Casey White was named Off the Block's National Freshman of the Week honorable mention February 17 after helping the Crimson to a 2-0 weekend to remain undefeated in conference play. The outside hitter posted 11 kills and an ace in a five-set thriller against Princeton Thursday, Feb. 13, and helped Harvard to its first-ever sweep of George Mason Sunday, Feb. 16 with a team-high 11 kills on a .318 hitting percentage.
Related Link: Off the Block
And the Award Goes To
Two Crimson student-athletes have earned EIVA Defensive Player of the Week accolades thus far this season.
DJ White earned the honor after pacing Harvard with 2.43 kps, 1.57 kps and 1.5 bps for the Crimson's efforts against two top-15 teams Jan. 27. Kyle Rehkemper was tabbed defensive player of the week for his 2.00 bps, 1.00 kps, 2.50 points per set and .333 hitting percentage performance in Harvard's EIVA opener against Sacred Heart Feb 7.
DJ White and Rehkemper have been selected for best player over a seven-day stretch three times each.
Harvard protected the net against MIT, posting 16 total blocks, a season high and the most by a Crimson squad since tallying 18 in a 3-2 win over NJIT April 12, 2013. Currently, Harvard ranks No. 35 in the NCAA in blocks per set (1.77).
Serving Up Aces
Seniors Kyle Rehkemper and Nick Madden have totaled 48 and 47 career aces, respectively, which puts them just outside Harvard's career-top 10. Rehkemper is two shy while Madden needs three to appear in the Crimson's annals.
Seven active players have already made a place for themselves in Harvard's record book. Chris Gibbons owns the top spot for career digs (642) while Will Chambers' .420 sits atop career hitting percentage (159-36-293). Nick Madden finds himself on four of the Crimson's career annals as the senior is third in block assists (190), fourth in total blocks (209), sixth in kills (729) and in digs (370). DJ White and Caleb Zimmick rank in the top-10 in three lists each. White's 572 kills rank ninth while his .306 hitting percentage and 2.92 kps rank seventh and eighth, respectively. Zimmick lands on each of the block lists with 29 solo blocks (T-5th), 166 block assists (6th) and 195 (7th) total blocks. Kyle Rehkemper appears on two lists as the senior sits fifth in block assists (168) and eighth in total blocks (187). Michael Owen's 125 block assists is good for seventh.
Related Link: Men's Volleyball Record Book
Seniors Chris Gibbons and Kyle Rehkemper earned spots on the 50th Asics Invitational All-Tournament team after helping Harvard down two ranked opponents – then-No. 5 Stanford and then-No. 8 UCSB – to reach the championship round of the invite. Rehkemper contributed to the Crimson's offense with 13 kills and a .792 hitting percentage while Gibbons registered nine digs.
Coming off an appearance in the EIVA Tournament championship, Harvard has been picked third in the 2014 EIVA Preseason Poll. The Crimson's third place pick is its highest ever finish in the poll with 23 points.
Defending champion Penn State was chosen to repeat, receiving seven of the eight first-place votes for nine points while Princeton was selected second with a total of 20 points and the one remaining first-place vote. George Mason (32 points), St. Francis (Pa.) (38), NJIT (50), Sacred Heart (52) and Rutgers-Newark (64) rounded out the preseason rankings.
Related Link: Men's Volleyball Tabbed Third in EIVA Preseason Poll
Ivy League Digital Network
For the first time ever, each of Harvard's 11 home matches will be streamed in HD quality featuring a live scoreboard, new graphics package and play-by-play commentary through the Ivy League Digital Network. Subscribers to the network can watch matches both live and on-demand at their convenience, and will have access to live and on-demand content for all Harvard athletics events throughout the duration of their subscription.