Harvard returns eight letterwinners and adds four newcomers for the 2015 season (Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard men's volleyball kicks off its 2015 season on the road this weekend with a Friday matchup against No. 5 Lewis at 7 p.m. before taking on No. 1 Loyola (Ill.) on Saturday at 5 p.m. The contest with Loyola will be the first time the Crimson has faced off against the top-ranked team in the country since February 13, 2009 against Penn State.
Use the all new Social Stream on GoCrimson.com to stay connected with the Crimson on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube this year. The Social Stream brings the conversation from all four platforms into one convenient location, allowing fans of all Harvard Athletics teams to monitor the action in real time.
A Year Ago
Harvard finished 2014 with a 15-8 record, including an 11-3 mark in conference play. The Crimson earned a berth to the EIVA Tournament for the third consecutive year, but fell to Princeton, 3-1, in the semifinals. DJ White led the squad with 3.30 kills per set and recorded a .312 hitting percentage, while Caleb Zimmick ranked sixth in the country in hitting percentage (.440) and led the Crimson with 1.11 blocks per set. Both White and Zimmick were recognized as honorable mention All-Americans by the AVCA.
Volleyball Magazine named Harvard's freshman class the eighth-best in the country, with three of the freshmen appearing on its "Fab-50" list. Brad Gretsch, Jack Heavey, Marko Kostich, and Riley Moore joined the Crimson in July.
Scouting No. 5 Lewis
Lewis is off to a 2-1 start after defeating No. 8 UC-Irvine and No. 10 Stanford before falling in five sets to No. 6 BYU during the opening week of the season. The Flyers returned a pair of All-American outside hitters from the 2014 squad in Geoff Powell and Greg Petty, as Lewis went 23-8 before falling to Penn State in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament.
Scouting No. 1 Loyola (Ill.)
After starting the season ranked No. 2, Loyola rose to the top spot following its 2-0 start. The Ramblers defeated No. 6 BYU and No. 10 Stanford in the opening week, dropping only one set in the two matches. Loyola won the 2014 NCAA National Championship, posting a 29-1 overall record. The Ramblers return first team All-American Thomas Jaeschke, and honorable mention All-Americans Cody Caldwell and Nicholas Olson.
Entering the 2015 season, multiple Harvard student-athletes are looking to ascend the Crimson record books:
1. Matt Jones '12 1218
5. Justin Denham '02 770
6. DJ White '15 750
1. Chris Gibbons '14 789
6. Rob Lothman '13 406
7. DJ White '15 375
1. Ryan Estendorf '96 89
4. Dave Olson '98 41
5. Caleb Zimmick '15 38
1. Ed Panaku '00 340
2. Brady Weissbourd '09 227
3. Caleb Zimmick '15 223
1. Ed Panaku '00 494
3. Brady Weissbourd '09 295
4. Caleb Zimmick '15 261
1. Rob Lothman '13 3,094
6. Conor Gaughan '02 1,008
7. Nick Bendell '17 775
Around the EIVA
Harvard was picked fourth in the EIVA Preseason Poll with 33 points, slotting in behind Penn State (48 points), Princeton (38) and George Mason (34). The Crimson was voted to finish ahead of St. Francis (Pa.) (16), NJIT (14), and Sacred Heart (13).
On The Sidelines
Head coach Brian Baise returns for his seventh season at the helm of the Harvard men's volleyball program. Baise owns a 76-60 record on the sidelines, including a 51-22 mark over the past three seasons. The Crimson has been ranked in each of the past three seasons, with 12 student-athletes earning All-EIVA recognition.
Jeffrey Aucoin and Ahmed Ibrahim return as assistant coaches for their second and fourth seasons, respectively.
The Crimson returns to Cambridge for its home opener against Ball State on January 23 at 7 p.m. before facing IPFW at 4 p.m. on January 24. Both matches can be seen live on the Ivy League Digital Network. The weekend marks the beginning of a five-game stretch at home.