Three Different Crimson Recorded Career Bests as Men’s Volleyball Downed Concordia, 3-2

Zimmick notched his first career double-double to help Harvard defeat Concordia (photo courtesy Zach Williamson).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Junior Caleb Zimmick registered his first double-double while sophomore Branden Clemens and freshman Nick Bendell tallied career-highs to lead the Harvard men's volleyball team to a 3-2 victory over Concordia Tuesday night at the Malkin Athletic Center. The non-conference win came by set scores of 25-21, 27-29, 20-25, 25-17 and 15-12. 

The Crimson (6-4) snapped Concordia's (14-4) 10-match win streak with its third straight win in Cambridge and fifth victory in six contests. 

Zimmick totaled 13 kills and a career-best 12 blocks for his first career double-double. Clemens, meanwhile, added a match-high 17 kills and seven blocks, a career best, while Bendell contributed a career-high 56 assists and six blocks.  

Junior DJ White and senior Kyle Rehkemper added 14 kills and eight kills each to the Harvard attack while hitting .344 and .538, respectively.  

Senior Chris Gibbons tallied 15 digs on the defensive side to go along with another career-high from Clemens who contributed eight as the Eagles were held to a .209 hitting percentage. Harvard's defense totaled 21 blocks on the night, marking the most by a Crimson squad since matching that number in a 3-2 win over Princeton April 5, 2011. 

Harvard trailed 13-9 in the first set before using an 8-4 stretch to knot the match at 17-17 on a DJ White kill.  Another short run put the Eagles in front again, 21-20, but four straight points behind DJ White at the service line punctuated by a Concordia error gave Harvard the first set, 25-21. 

The teams battled back-and-forth throughout the second stanza which featured five lead changes and 13 ties with Harvard holding the set's biggest lead, 24-21. The Eagles closed the gap to notch the set 24-24. Concordia was able to couple two points together down the stretch for a 29-27 set victory that evened the match. 

A kill by Rehkemper opened the third set, before Concordia surged ahead, 13-11. The Crimson remained close, but could not formulate a rally to overtake the Eagles largest lead of the frame, 22-16. Concordia persevered to take the set, 25-20. 

It was all Crimson in the fourth set as kills by DJ White and Clemens helped Harvard to a 14-8 lead. Rehkemper's 51st ace of his career, which put him in sole posssion of 10th place in Harvard's record book, and third of the night put the score to 17-12 before two Eagles errors gave the Crimson a six-point margin, 19-13. Harvard went on to score six of the next 10 points to take the set, 25-17 and force a fifth frame. 

The fifth and final set was another tight affair as the teams found themselves even at 7. Two straight errors by the Crimson found Harvard trailing 10-9, but a 4-2 spurt out of a timeout found the Crimson back on top, 13-12. DJ White's second ace of the night and a Zimmick smash sealed the 15-12 victory.

Harvard returns to action this weekend when it entertains Rutgers-Newark and NJIT. The Scarlet Raiders visit Cambridge Friday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. while the Highlanders visit the MAC Saturday, March 1 at 4 p.m.