The Crimson ends the 2013 regular season at Sacred Heart on Saturday (photo courtesy Gil Talbot).
The Harvard men's volleyball team travels to Sacred Heart for a regular-season finale that is a determining factor in its postseason path. The Crimson takes the court against the Pioneers Saturday, April 20, at 4 p.m. and needs a win plus a victory from George Mason to secure the third-seed in the EIVA Tournament.
Follow the Action
A live video stream will be available from Sacred Heart by clicking video. Live stats will also be available.
Last Time Out
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 on the year, 9-4 EIVA 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, including two solos.
Around the League
Harvard is currently in third place of the EIVA standings with a 9-4 conference mark and a 16-8 overall record. Entering the weekend, the Crimson is third in the conference in hitting percentage (.261), second in aces (1.19), fourth in assists (11.28), kills (12.02) and blocks (2.44), and ranks fifth in digs (8.72).
DJ White, Caleb Zimmick rank second and third in the league with hitting percentages of .348 and .315, respectively. White also ranks sixth in the EIVA for kills per set at 3.22 and is joined by Nick Madden with 2.88 kps for ninth in the same stat column. Chris Gibbons comes in fifth among liberos with 2.34 dps, while Rob Lothman is third among EIVA setters with 10.18 aps. Zimmick also boasts the fourth best blocking average at 1.22 bps with Kyle Rehkemper chipping in 0.93 bps, eighth in the conference. At the service line, Rehkemper and Michael Owens are tied for seventh in the EIVA for aces per set (0.27).
Men's volleyball national ranking summary through games played April 14.
Scouting Sacred Heart
The Pioneers conclude their 2013 season against the Crimson after splitting its last two contests. Sacred Heart defeated Rutgers-Newark, 3-2, before falling to NJIT in five sets. The Pioneers will finish the season in seventh place of the EIVA. Entering the match, Sacred Heart is 4-18 on the year, 2-11 in conference play and 1-4 in the month of April.
Sacred Heat is hitting .164 with 11.36 kills per set this season. The Pioneers 9.39 digs per set and 1.12 aces per game both rank third in the EIVA and 13th in the nation. Sacred Heart is blocking at a rate of 1.55 bps and distributing 10.84 assists per set.
Bradley Borsay leads the Pioneers from the serving line with 0.36 aces per set, 14th best average in the NCAA, and 3.11 kills per set, while hitting .241. Ben Thomas's 9.33 assists per set is the 22nd highest average in the country, while A.J. Logosh's 2.18 digs per set is 20th. Raymond Satagaj tops the lineup with 55 total blocks, 0.68 bps.
Harvard topped Sacred Heart for the third consecutive time with a 3-1 win at home earlier this season. The Crimson controls the all-time series, 21-7.
Previous Meeting: Men's Volleyball Blocks Its Way Past Sacred Heart, 3-1
Approaching the Postseason
With one match remaining in the regular season, Harvard is eyeing the third place seed for the 2013 EIVA Tournament. The Crimson clinched its second consecutive postseason berth with a 3-2 defeat of Princeton on Friday, April 5, but is tied with the Tigers at 9-4 in the league standings heading into the final match. If Harvard wins at Sacred Heart and Princeton (9-4 EIVA) loses to George Mason (10-4 EIVA), the Crimson will receive the third seed and face second-seed George Mason in the opening round. If Harvard loses or all three teams finish 10-4 in league play, then the EIVA Tournament seeds will be No. 1 Penn State, No. 2 George Mason, No. 3 Princeton and No. 4 Harvard.
One Player, Two EIVA Weekly Awards
Junior Kyle Rehkemper was named the EIVA Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week on Monday, April 15, becoming the first Crimson to sweep the awards. In leading the Crimson to a 2-0 record on the weekend, Rehkemper averaged 2.62 kps, 1.50 bps and 3.62 points per set while hitting .424 for the weekend. He recorded a season-high 13 kills to go with a .348 hitting percentage on Friday against NJIT, and also added a season-high eight blocks and three digs. On Saturday against Rutgers-Newark, Rehkemper tallied eight kills, a .600 hitting percentage and four blocks, including two solo.
The awards are the first of Rehkemper's career and the third and fourth EIVA honors taken home by the Crimson this season.
Dishing 'Em Out
Senior setter Rob Lothman's registered the ninth match of his career with 50 or more assists when he produced 57 assists against NJIT on April 12. The tally was the third most ever in a single match for the Crimson. Lothman, the school's all-time leading setter, also holds the fourth and fifth highest single-match assist marks of 54 and 53.
Records are Meant to be Broken
Two Harvard men's volleyball records were broken within four days of each other. Junior Chris Gibbons produced 30 digs against UC Santa Barbara on March 15 to surpass Matt Jones '12 452 career digs. With 553 scoops, Gibbons is the only player in program history to surpass the 500-dig plateau.
At Concordia on March 19, senior Rob Lothman dished out 27 assists to overtake Mike Bookman '03 in career assists. Bookman amassed 2,765 assists while playing for the Crimson. Lothman, whose freshman and junior single-season totals rate among the best in program history, has tallied 2,989 assists at Harvard.
Keep on Blockin'
Middle blocker Caleb Zimmick has twice registered a career-high nine blocks so far this season. The sophomore first did so against Sacred Heart on March 13 and then repeated the performance against NJIT on April 12. Zimmick has recorded seven or more blocks five times this season and logged 15 matches with at least five blocks in the sophomore's young career.
Harvard is 25-7 in the friendly confines of the Malkin Athletic Center since the start of 2011 including a 9-1 mark this year. The Crimson won 12 straight matches at home dating back to last season, before having that streak snapped against George Mason on April 6. Harvard has also captured each of its last three home openers.
The Crimson used a season-high 18.5 blocks to rally to victory from a two-set deficit against NJIT on April 12. Caleb Zimmick topped all players with nine total blocks as Kyle Rehkemper posted eight and Rob Lothman, Michael Owen and Alec Schlossman each added five. Harvard had previously established a three-season high earlier in the year when it used 17.5 blocks to top No. 6 Penn State on the road.
Harvard's season high for blocks in 2012 was 17 at Rutgers-Newark.
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 fell from the AVCA Division I-II Poll after being ranked in consecutive weeks from Feb. 25 to March 4. The Crimson reached as high as No. 14, the highest ranking in program history.
Taking Home the Hardware
Sophomore DJ White earned a pair of honors in 2013, being named both the AVCA Division I-II National Player of the Week and EIVA Offensive Player of the Week. The praise came 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 Cal State Northridge, 3-1, to record the program's first victory against a ranked team under head coach Brian Baise.
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.