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Stellar Hitting Propels Men's Volleyball to Sweep of Rutgers-Newark

The Crimson closed out its home schedule with a season-high .493 hitting percentage (photo courtesy Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Behind a scorching .493 hitting percentage, the men's volleyball team swept Rutgers-Newark, 25-14, 25-18, 25-12, on Saturday afternoon in the Malkin Athletic Center. Junior Will Chambers was one of three Crimson players to register a match-high eight kills, going 8-for-10 without an error for a .800 attacking clip on the day.

Classmates Nick Madden and Kyle Rehkemper also delivered an octet of kills, hitting .462 and .600, respectively, as Harvard improved to 16-8, 9-4 EIVA on the year and dropped the Scarlett Raiders to 4-19, 0-12 EIVA. Madden added a match-high four aces and three digs, while Rehkemper paced the squad with four blocks.

Senior Rob Lothman distributed 38 assists, registered an ace, four digs, a pair of blocks and was 2-for-2 on the attack in the final home match of his career. The captain tallied 95 helpers over the weekend to bring his program record to 2,990 and season total to 804, his second and the sixth time in Harvard men's volleyball history a player has registered 800 or more assists in a single season.

The Crimson hit a phenomenal .542 to run away with the opening set. Freshman Branden Clemens served up two aces in the midst of a 7-2 run to start the match and the Crimson never looked back at it stretched its lead to as much as 12 before winning, 25-14. Clemens went on to lead the team with five digs and equaled Madden's match-high four aces.

Tied at three in the second frame, Harvard jump-started an 11-3 run when Clemens and sophomore DJ White sandwiched an ace by Madden with kills, 14-6. The Crimson turned in an efficient .391 hitting percentage to keep its lead at eight and take set two in deciding fashion.

Harvard asserted itself once again in the third, clobbering Rutgers-Newark with a .550 attack to seal the win. The sides battled for every point to 9-8, when a service error and kill from sophomore John Manzo ignited a 15-4 run to close out the match. Fittingly, Lothman registered the final point of the run and clinched the victory with an ace on his final play on his home court.

Harvard closes out the regular-season Saturday, April 20, at Sacred Heart at 2 p.m.  The Crimson will then compete in the EIVA Tournament at Penn State April 25-27.