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Harvard Men's Volleyball Topped by No. 1 Southern California, 3-1

Nick Madden tallied eight kills, seven digs, one solo block and three block assists against Southern Cal (photo courtesy Gil Talbot).

LOS ANGLELES, Calif. – The Harvard men’s volleyball team wrapped up its California spring break trip Wednesday at the No. 1 Southern California. After dropping the first two sets, the Crimson rebounded to take the third, but the come back fell short as Southern Cal took the match 3-1.

In the opening set, the Crimson took an early 2-0 lead after two Trojan attack errors. Southern Cal bounced back, building a 17-11 lead and forcing a Harvard timeout. Kills from Chris Gibbons and Kyle Rehkemper cut the Crimson deficit to 20-16, but Southern Cal closed the set winning five of the last eight points and took the set 25-19.

The second set was extremely close with the teams exchanging the lead multiple times. Both the Crimson and Trojans notched 12 kills in the set that was tied as late as 23-23. Southern Cal built a 13-10 lead early, yet Harvard battled back and took a 22-20 lead of its own following three Gibbons kills and a Rehkemper service ace. Unfortunately, with the score knotted at 23-23, Tanner Jansen tallied a service ace for the Trojans and an attack error from Harvard gave Southern Cal a 25-23 set victory.

In an even closer third set, the teams traded scores though the first 28 points to tie the score at 14-14, with neither squad taking more than a one-point lead early. Nick Madden tallied two of his eight kills in the early part of the set. Southern Cal went up by two points, 19-17, but the Crimson used the combination of a Matt Jones kill and Trojan attack errors to build its own 22-20 lead, forcing a Southern Cal timeout. After the break, Harvard used two more kills from Jones and another from Gibbons to win the third set 25-22.

The Crimson could not turn the third set win into any momentum, converting only three kills in the fourth set, while the Trojans registered 12. Southern Cal used a 30.4 percent attack percentage and glided to a 25-16 set win, securing the match 3-1.

Four Trojans reached double-figure kills. Jansen and Sean Dennis each had a match-high 12, while Maddison McKibbin and Tucker Peleuses had 11 of their own. Gibbons led the Crimson with 11, followed by Jones with 10, complimented by two solo blocks. Madden added eight kills to go with seven digs, one solo block and three block assists.

Harvard will return to the east coast and travel to Springfield for a March 23 matchup before hosting New York University March 25.