Clemens, White, and Zimmick were named to the all-tournament team (Gil Talbot).
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – After toppling Springfield College, 3-1, the Harvard men's volleyball team hoisted the trophy as the champions of the 2015 Hall of Fame Morgan Classic. Junior Branden Clemens was named the tournament MVP after leading the Crimson in kills for the second-straight match. Harvard earned the victory by set scores of 25-23, 21-25, 25-23, and 25-21.
For their strong performances in the two matches, senior captains DJ White and Caleb Zimmick were also named to the all-tournament team. White co-led the Crimson (8-4) with 17 kills against the Pride (8-5), hitting .400 in the process. Zimmick finished with six kills and two blocks, while hitting .500. Casey White neared a double-double with nine kills and nine digs, meanwhile, and Nick Bendell tied a season-high with 49 assists.
Harvard hit .300 or better for the eighth time in the last 10 outings in the victory, and also posted nine total team blocks to limit the Springfield attack.
The first set was tightly contested, with each team trading runs and leads. The score was level at 21 when DJ White took over the period and led Harvard to a victory in the set. DJ White started the run with a kill set up by Bendell, and followed it up with a service ace and additional kill. Leading 24-23, Zimmick set up DJ White for the decisive kill to put Harvard ahead, 1-0.
The Crimson fell behind early in the second period, with the Pride gaining a 15-9 lead. Kills from DJ White and Bendell helped the Crimson draw within three, but Springfield recovered and took the set, 25-21.
Harvard put up a four-point run at the beginning of the third frame to lead 9-5 when DJ White and Branden Clemens recorded kills. Springfield rallied to take the lead midway through the period, 16-15, but a service error and a kill from Clemens swung the advantage back to Harvard. Casey White recorded the final two kills of the set to give Harvard a 2-1 match lead.
Springfield held an 11-9 lead in the fourth set, but a three-point spurt from Harvard shifted the momentum. The Pride would not regain the lead in the match, and Clemens and Zimmick combined for a block to notch the final point to win the tournament.
The Crimson returns to the Malkin Athletic Center on February 27 and 28 for EIVA tilts with Saint Francis (Pa.) and Penn State. Both matches begin at 7 p.m., and can be seen live on the Ivy League Digital Network.