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Men's Volleyball Opens Home Slate Tuesday vs. Rivier

The Crimson will open its home slate Tuesday vs. Rivier (Ben Barnhart).

The Storyline
The Harvard men's volleyball team will play its first home match at the Malkin Athletic Center following a six-match road trip when it hosts Rivier Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 7 p.m. Harvard is 8-2 all-time against the Raiders, including a 3-0 victory last season in Nashua, N.H.

A live video stream featuring play-by-play man Andy Towne will be available through GoCrimson.com by clicking here. Live stats will be available by clicking here.

Last Time Out
The Harvard men's volleyball team turned in one of its best offensive performances on the young season to defeat Juniata Saturday afternoon at the Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic, 3-1. Branden Clemens led the attack with a career-high 19 kills and a .630 hitting percentage. The freshman committed just two errors on 27 attempts and was named to the All-Tournament Team.

Related Link: Men's Volleyball Rolls Past Juniata, 3-1

Around the League
Harvard is currently in second place of the EIVA standings with a 1-1 conference mark and a 4-2 overall record. The Crimson ranks third in the conference in kills (11.91 kps) hitting percentage (.240), assists (11.23 aps) and blocks (2.80 bps), while ranking fourth in digs (9.05 dps).  

Individually, Branden Clemens boasts the ninth best kills per set average at 2.95 and is third in the conference with a .393 hitting percentage. Rob Lothman ranks fifth among setters with 9.50 aps while Chris Gibbons also comes in fifth among liberos with 2.32 dps. Caleb Zimmick and Kyle Rehkemper, meanwhile, are fifth and sixth in the conference with 1.36 bps and 1.10 bps, respectively.

Scouting Rivier
Rivier was ranked No. 10 in last week's AVCA Div. III Coaches Poll and enters play Tuesday with a 2-2 record. The Raiders are averaging 10.46 kps with a .164 hitting percentage, and have notched 10.54 dps and 1.92 bps on the defensive side of the net.

Chris Markuson leads the Rivier attack with 2.83 kps while Terence Matatall has chipped in 2.17 kps with a .420 hitting percentage. Steve Visentin has served as the team's primary setter and is averaging 7.85 aps. The defense is headed up by Matt Bynon and Visentin who have notched 2.31 dps and 2.08 dps, respectively.

Block Party
The Crimson recorded 17.5 blocks at No. 6 Penn State, the team's highest total over the last three seasons. Caleb Zimmick led the way with eight total blocks as Michael Owen and Kyle Rehkemper each turned in seven. Nick Madden and Rob Lothman also got in on the action, registering six blocks and four blocks, respectively.

Harvard's season high for blocks in 2012 was 17 at Rutgers-Newark.

Quick Start
Harvard swept Stevens, NYU and St. Francis (Pa.) to open the year, marking the third straight season that the Crimson has started the year with at least two victories. Harvard's three straight-set victories, meanwhile, had not been accomplished since 1993 when the squad posted four sweeps in its first four matches.

Award Winner
DJ White was named the EIVA Offensive Player of the Week Jan. 22 after leading Harvard to a pair of sweeps to open the season. White averaged 4.67 kps, 1.67 dps and 1.00 bps while hitting .420 on the weekend, including a 19-kill performance at Stevens. The sophomore now boasts two career EIVA Offensive Player of the Week honors after also receiving the award once as a freshman.

Catch the Crimson in 2012
Harvard will host 11 home matches at the Malkin Athletic Center this season and each will be streamed live online through GoCrimson.com. Fans can also watch each match On Demand approximately two hours after completion. One-year subscriptions are available for $49.95 and allow access to every home event streamed by the Crimson, including football, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's hockey and men's soccer. For more information or to sign up today, click here.

Captaining the Ship
Rob Lothman and Nick Madden will serve as the team's captains for the 2013 season. Lothman was named to the All-EIVA second team in 2012 after setting a career-high with 888 assists, the fifth-best single-season total in program history. Lothman directed the Crimson attack to a .298 hitting percentage, which ranked seventh in the NCAA, while his 10.1 assists per set were good for 18th in the nation. Madden, meanwhile, started all 24 matches last year for the Crimson and ranked second on the squad in kills (3.01) and points (3.6). His 268 kills in 2012 were good for eighth in program history while his 147 career blocks rank his sixth all-time.

Banner Year
Harvard is coming off one of the most successful seasons in program history, as the Crimson earned its first-ever national ranking in 2012 and finished the year at No. 15 in the AVCA Coaches Poll. Harvard posted an 18-6 overall record and took second in the EIVA with a 10-4 conference mark, with the team's 18 wins representing the third-highest total ever.

Head coach Brian Baise was tabbed as the EIVA Coach of the Year as a result of the squad's success while Matt Jones, DJ White and Rob Lothman all earned all-conference accolades.