Harvard ranks eighth in the nation in digs per set averaging 9.31 (Zack Williamson).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard men's volleyball team welcomes west-coast competition in Holy Names Friday, March 11 and Cal Baptist Monday, March 14 to the Malkin Athletic Center. The 7 p.m. contests will be broadcast on the Ivy League Digital Network.
Last Time Out
The Crimson improved to 5-2 in EIVA play by defeating Sacred Heart, 3-0, on Saturday afternoon. Branden Clemens led the charge recording 11 kills and three blocks, while Casey White chipped in nine kills and a career-high 21 digs. Middle blockers Brad Gretsch and Riley Moore each contributed eight kills, while Moore recorded a match-high four blocks.
Related Link: Men's Volleyball Blanks Sacred Heart in Three Sets, 3-0
Scouting Holy Names
Holy Names owns a 1-15 overall record on the season. The Hawks' Kyle Cazares averages 3.24 kills per set, while Trent Compton sits behind him with 2.20. Middle blocker John Mayer is recording 1.10 blocks per set, as setter Trevor Robison dishes out 7.30 assists per set.
Scouting Cal Baptist
Cal Baptist sports a 9-12 overall mark and a 4-12 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation record. The Lancers' Logan Czyzewski is averaging 3.00 kills per set, while Rocky DeLyon follows closely with 2.69 kills per set. Caleb Miller and Enrique Garcia top Cal Baptist's leaderboard in blocks per set averaging 1.03 and 1.00, respectively.
Junior Casey White was named EIVA Defensive Player of the Week on March 7 after posting a career-high 21 digs in 3-0 triumph over Sacred Heart. Freshman Trevor Dow was named EIVA Defensive Player of the Week on Feb. 29 after registering a career-high six blocks in a 3-0 victory at Princeton and again the following night at NJIT. The Needham, Massachusetts native also was named Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week honorable mention on Feb. 22, Feb. 29, and March 7.
||Dow Recognized as EIVA Defensive Player of the Week
White Recognized as EIVA Defensive Player of the Week
Vs. Ranked Opponents
Harvard surpassed No. 15 St. Francis on Feb. 13, 3-0. It marked the first time the Crimson had defeated a ranked opponent since Jan. 23, 2015 against No. 14 Ball State, 3-0.
Riley Moore's kill in the third set against Sacred Heart earned the fifth spot on Harvard's Top Five Plays of the Week video on March 9. After Samuel Murphy received the serve, Marko Kostich set up Moore for the attack but his attempt was blocked by the Pioneer's front line. The ball ricocheted off of Moore's face and hit the ground, giving the Crimson the point.
The Crimson earned the fifth spot on Harvard's Top Five Plays of the Week video on Feb. 17. In an all-around effort by Branden Clemens, the senior recovered the ball by the Crimson bench off a bad dig, keeping Harvard alive in the point. After St. Francis was unable to capitalize, Marko Kostich set the ball for Clemens to hammer down the kill. The Crimson would take the match in three sets.
||Harvard Top 5 Plays of the Week – Feb. 17, 2016
Harvard Top 5 Plays of the Week – March 9, 2016
Around the EIVA
Penn State stands atop the EIVA standings with a 7-0 record, while Harvard and St. Francis (Pa.) follow at 5-2 and 4-3, respectively. George Mason, Sacred Heart and Princeton are tied for fourth with 3-4 records, while NJIT (2-3) and Charleston (0-7) round out the bottom two.
As a team, the Crimson tops the league in three categories, including hitting percentage (.298), opponent hitting percentage (.244), and digs per set (9.31). Harvard ranks second in blocks per set (2.40) and aces per set (1.27), while also placing third in assists per set (11.39) and kills per set (12.24).
Branden Clemens holds a .324 hitting percentage, good for second, while also ranking fourth with 3.84 kills per set and seventh in digs per set with 2.16. Marko Kostich averages 10.22 assists per set for a second-place ranking. Freshman Trevor Dow is tied for second with sophomore Riley Moore each sporting 1.02 blocks per set. Brad Gretsch sits third in service aces with 0.36 per set, while Casey White ranks fourth in digs averaging 2.37 per set and sixth in hitting percentage with a .275 clip.
Branden Clemens has posted double-digit kills in 13 of the last 14 matches. For his career, Clemens has tallied double-digit kills in 42 matches.
Head coach Brian Baise is in his eighth season at Harvard and is three wins away from becoming the second Crimson coach to reach 100 victories. Multiple student-athletes are also looking to ascend the Crimson record books:
|1. Matt Jones '12
4. Nick Madden '14
5. Evan Mager '99
6. Branden Clemens '16
|1. Rob Lothman '13
2. Gil Weintruab '09
7. Conor Gaughan '02
8. Marko Kostich '18
|1. Matt Jones '12
4. Evan Beachy '98
5. Gil Weintruab '10
6. Branden Clemens '16
1. Chris Gibbons '14
|1. Ryan Estendorf '96
5. Dave Olson '98
6. Ryan Oliver '98
Seamus McKiernan '06
7. Matt Jones '12
Branden Clemens '16
|1. Ed Panaku '00
5. Kyle Rehkemper '14
6. Matt Jones '12
7. Branden Clemens '16
|1. Ed Panaku '00
7. Matt Jones '12
8. Ryan Westendorf '96
9. Branden Clemens '16
COOP Student-Athlete of the Week
Senior Branden Clemens was named COOP Student-Athlete of the Week on Jan. 12, while junior Casey White was voted the same honor on Jan. 19. Brad Gretsch recently received the accolade as he won on Feb. 17.
Aye, Aye Captain
Senior Branden Clemens was elected captain for the 2016 season. Last year, Clemens was voted All-EIVA first team and EIVA All-Academic team after posting a career-high 3.11 kills per set and 1.79 digs per set. The Carmel, Indiana native continues to climb Harvard's record books, ranking fourth in digs (458), sixth in aces (64) and kills (774), seventh in block assists (150) and solo blocks (28), and ninth in total blocks (178).
Back in Crimson
Head coach Brian Baise welcomed back three starters including senior captain Brendan Clemens and sophomores Brad Gretsch and Marko Kostich. Clemens was selected to the All-EIVA first team last season after posting a career-high 3.11 kills per set and 1.79 digs per set. Kostich sits eighth on Harvard's career assists list with 944, while Gretsch finished his freshmen year with 1.76 kills per set. Senior Alister Bent and junior Samuel Murphy will both see time at libero this season.
A Year Ago
Harvard finished 2015 with a 13-12 record, including a 7-5 mark in conference play. The Crimson earned a berth to the EIVA Tournament for the fourth-consecutive year, but fell to George Mason, 3-1, in the semifinals. DJ White '15 led the Crimson with 3.24 kills per set, while AVCA honorable mention All-American Caleb Zimmick '15 ranked 13th in the country in blocks per set (1.17) and 16th in hitting percentage (.359). White was also ranked 11th in digs per set with 2.29. As a team, Harvard ranked 11th in the nation with a .277 hitting percentage and 12th in blocks per set at 2.48.
On The Sidelines
Head coach Brian Baise returns for his eighth season at the helm of the Harvard men's volleyball program. Baise owns a 97-78 record on the sidelines, including a 72-40 mark over the past five seasons.
Assistant coach Jeffrey Aucoin will return for his third season, with Harrison Hodgin and Christian Vandergeest joining the team as assistant coaches. Ahmed Ibrahim will also return with the Crimson but as its operations assistant.
The Crimson takes a week off as it continues conference play traveling to Fairfield, Connecticut to face Sacred Heart on Saturday, March 26 at 4 p.m.