Jones and White combined for 27 kills in Harvard's 3-1 victory over Rutgers-Newark in the season finale. (Gil Talbot)
NEWARK, N.J.- The No. 15 Harvard men's volleyball team ended its regular season on a high note by defeating Rutgers-Newark, 3-1, and inching closer to wrapping up the No. 2 seed for the EIVA tournament. Senior Matt Jones led the way for the Crimson tallying 18 kills and 10 blocks, recording a double-double on Saturday night, helping the team to improve to 18-5 (10-4 in the EIVA).
The Crimson staked themselves a 2-0 lead after taking the first two sets, 27-25, 25-19. The Scarlet Raiders made it 2-1 in the third stanza, taking it 25-21.
In the fourth set, Rutgers-Newark jumped out to a 6-2 lead with the help of kills from Austin Pappas, Marcin Midura and Grant Metheny. With the score 10-7, Rutgers-Newark, Harvard began to gain some traction as the team recorded six-straight points, forcing a Scarlet Raider timeout. The break did Rutgers-Newark some good as the team went on 4-1 run to even the score at 15-15. With the score 16-16 Harvard once again went on an extended run as Freshman DJ White and Jones recorded kills along with four errors, to record six-straight points and go up 22-16. Rutgers-Newark halted the momentum scoring the next point off an attack error by Jones. However the Crimson were able to outlast Rutgers-Newark 25-18.
Harvard's offense was sparked by Jones' 18 kills while White was second on the team with nine. Both Jones and sophomore Michael Owen finished with 10 blocks apiece while junior Rob Lothman finished with 40 assists in the match. Sophomore Chris Gibbons paced the Crimson with 13 digs.
For Rutgers-Newark was paced by Midura with 15 kills while Manuel Felipez had 37 assists. Felipez and Parth Vedawala both tallied nine digs, tied for the team lead.
Harvard will compete at the EIVA tournament next Thursday, April 26.