Kyle Rehkemper tallied 12 kills and the Crimson improved to 3-1 this season after defeating MIT (photo courtesy Harvard Athletic Communications).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The Harvard men’s volleyball team dropped the first set, but rallied to win the next three against fellow Cambridge resident MIT, in front of a packed house at the Malkin Athletic Center.
The Crimson jumped out to an early 10-5 lead in the opening set, but the Engineers closed the gap and tied the score at 13. The teams traded points until Harvard had an opportunity to close the set, up 24-23. Unfortunately, three Harvard attack errors gave the first set to MIT, 26-24.
In the second set, the Crimson once again built an early cushion that grew as large as nine at 12-3. The Engineers would put together another streak, capturing seven of the next nine points, to bring the score to 14-10 and forcing a Harvard timeout.
After the break in the play, the Crimson regrouped and made sure not to let the set slip away. Three errors by the Engineers and a Chris Gibbons kill wrapped up the second set, 25-20, and evened the match at one set apiece.
The third set began more even than the first two with the score being tied at six after the first 12 points. Harvard would steadily build a lead of 19-12, facilitated by a trio of blocks; Kyle Rehkemper and Michael Owen knocked down a Ken Siebert attack, Gibbons and Rehkemper rejected a Patrick Vatterott attack and Nick Madden and Owen blocked another Siebert attempt. The Crimson would capture the third set 25-18.
MIT came out in the fourth set with stellar attacking building a lead of 13-6 and forcing Harvard to take both timeouts. The Engineer lead would grow as large as eight at 21-13, but Harvard found its stride and the comeback began. Matt Jones and Rehkemper would each tally three kills and help Harvard even the score at 24. After ten back-and-forth points, Rehkemper slammed home a kill and Siebert committed his 11th attack error to give the Crimson a 31-29 set victory and the match win.
Jones paced the Crimson with 16 kills, followed by Gibbons with 13 and Rehkemper with 12. Harvard blocked 14 MIT attacks with Madden assisting on 11. Rob Lothman did an excellent job setting for his Crimson attackers, notching 45 assists.
Harvard will be in action again Feb. 9 when Rivier travels to Cambridge for a 7 p.m. match.