The Crimson will meet two ranked teams during their west coast tour being kicked-off Friday at No. 11 UC Santa Barbara (Gil Talbot).
Riding a three-game winning streak, the Harvard men's volleyball team travels to the Golden State for a trio of west coast matches. The Crimson will open the tour with No. 11 UC Santa Barbara on Friday, March 15 and then head to No. 12 Cal Baptist for a showdown on Monday, March 18, before closing the trip at Concordia on Tuesday. All three matches will begin at 10 p.m. (EST).
Last Time Out
The Crimson won its 10th straight match at the Malkin Athletic Center and fifth of the year by set scores of 25-16, 25-16, 21-25 and 31-29. Nick Madden, Branden Clemens and DJ White each finished the night with double-digit kills, with Madden's 16 kills and .438 hitting percentage leading the way. Clemens chipped in 13 kills and a .435 hitting percentage as White added 10 kills while hitting .308. Rob Lothman dished out 46 assists as the Crimson combined to hit .389, marking the sixth time this season that Harvard has hit above .300 for a match. The Crimson received strong play from its defense as well, holding Sacred Heart to a .169 hitting percentage thanks in part to 13 total blocks. Caleb Zimmick led the charge with a career-high tying nine blocks while Clemens added four. Seven different members of Harvard's lineup registered at least one block on the night, with six notching at least two. Chris Gibbons added 12 digs to the defensive efforts with Clemens and Madden each chipping in eight.
Related Link: Men's Volleyball Blocks Its Way Past Sacred Heart, 3-1
Around the League
Harvard is currently in fourth place of the EIVA standings with a 6-3 conference mark and an 12-4 overall record. The Crimson is second in the conference in aces (1.29), third in hitting percentage (.258), fourth in assists (11.25), kills (12.06) and blocks (2.33), and ranks seventh in digs (8.69).
DJ White, Caleb Zimmick and Branden Clemens top the league with hitting percentages of .375, .326 and .307, respectively. White also ranks third in the EIVA for kills per set at 3.53. Chris Gibbons comes in third among liberos with 2.54 dps, while Rob Lothman is third among EIVA setters with 10.22 aps. Zimmick also boasts the second best blocking average at 1.27 bps with Kyle Rehkemper chipping in 0.83 bps, eighth in the conference. At the service line, Rehkemper leads the EIVA in aces per set average (0.38), while Michael Owen is seventh at 0.29.
Men's volleyball national ranking summary through games played March 10.
Scouting UC Santa Barbara
The No. 11 Gauchos defeated No. 8 Cal State Northridge, 3-1, on Wednesday night. UC Santa Barbara is 3-1 in their last four contests, including a 2-1 mark in matches against top-10 opponents.
In the latest release of the national ranking's summary, the Gauchos had four players ranked in the top-30 of four stat categories. Dylan Davis ranked third in the country with 1.36 bps, Dylan Davis was eighth with 10.51 aps, Chad Kingi was 15th on 2.41 dps and Matt Marsh came in at 25th on 3.35 kps.
Harvard trails in the all-time series with UC Santa Barbara, 0-2. The teams have not met since 2010.
Scouting Cal Baptist
No. 12 Cal Baptist (8-9) will host No. 10 Hawaii in a Friday and Saturday series before meeting Harvard on Monday, March 18. Entering the weekend, the Lancers were 2-2 over the past four matches, having fallen to No. 1 BYU twice after defeating Pacific and UC San Diego.
The Lancers lead the nation in kills per set (13.43) and assists per set (12.81). Senior Levi Cabral is among the country's best in three categories. The outside hitter averages 4.29 kps (2nd), 0.47 aces per set (5th) and a .299 hitting percentage (20th). Teammate Guilherme Koepp's 4.0 kps is fifth best in the nation, while his 0.31 aces per set are 26th. Aaron McCalmont leads the team in hitting percentage (.300), with Koepp (1.73 dps) and Rockey DeLyon (0.90 bps) charging the defense.
The Crimson met the Lancers twice last season, taking both matches to bring the all-time series to 2-2.
The Eagles ride a three-game win-streak into the weekend where they are hosting the Asics/Wyndham Hotel Spring Tournament before meeting the Crimson. Concordia is 12-5 entering their tournament, including an 8-2 mark at home. The Eagles are hitting .291, with 12.51 kps and average 2.39 bps so far this year.
Naseri Tumanuvao leads the squad in hitting percentage (.310), kills per set (3.49) and total digs (80). Mark Metrakos tops the serving (0.27 saps) and blocking (1.11 bps) columns for the Eagles. Kevin Fiske's 10.04 aps are a team-high entering the weekend.
The two sides last met in 2002, with Harvard falling in straight sets. Harvard leads the all-time series, 7-4.
Keep on Blockin'
Middle blocker Caleb Zimmick registered a career-high nine blocks against Sacred Heart. The outing marked the third time this season that Zimmick has recorded seven or more blocks and the 12th time in the sophomore's young career with at least five blocks in a match.
Harvard won six straight matches from Feb. 2 to Feb. 23, it longest streak since winning 13 in a row in 2005. During that span, the Crimson won four matches in straight sets, also matching the 2005 team's streak of four consecutive sweeps.
Harvard has fallen from the AVCA Division I-II Poll after being ranked in consecutive weeks. The Crimson reached as high as No. 14, the highest ranking in program history.
Taking Home the Hardware
Sophomore DJ White recently earned a pair of honors, being named both the AVCA Division I-II National Player of the Week and EIVA Offensive Player of the Week. The praise comes after White averaged 4.17 kills per set and hit .477 as the Crimson knocked off No. 9 Penn State and St. Francis (Pa.) in straight sets.
White is the first member of the Crimson to earn the national recognition. He has been named the conference's offensive player of the week twice this season and has earned the distinction three times in his career.
The Crimson ended a 51-match drought for conference opponents versus Penn State when it upset the ninth-ranked Nittany Lions Feb. 15, 3-0. Penn State's last loss to an EIVA conference foe came on March 7, 2008 to George Mason, 3-1.
Harvard's 3-0 victory over then ninth-ranked Penn State marked the team's second win over a ranked opponent in as many years. Last season, the Crimson knocked off No. 12 Call State Northridge, 3-1, to record the program's first victory against a ranked team under head coach Brian Baise.
Harvard is 21-6 in the friendly confines of the Malkin Athletic Center since the start of 2011 including a 5-0 mark this year. The Crimson has won 10 straight matches at home dating back to last season and has captured each of its last three home openers.
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.
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.
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.
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.