Zimmick notched his first career double-double to help Harvard defeat Concordia (photo courtesy Zach Williamson).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Junior Caleb Zimmick registered his first double-double while sophomore Branden Clemens and freshman Nick Bendell tallied career-highs to lead the Harvard men's volleyball team to a 3-2 victory over Concordia Tuesday night at the Malkin Athletic Center. The non-conference win came by set scores of 25-21, 27-29, 20-25, 25-17 and 15-12.
The Crimson (6-4) snapped Concordia's (14-4) 10-match win streak with its third straight win in Cambridge and fifth victory in six contests.
Zimmick totaled 13 kills and a career-best 12 blocks for his first career double-double. Clemens, meanwhile, added a match-high 17 kills and seven blocks, a career best, while Bendell contributed a career-high 56 assists and six blocks.
Senior Chris Gibbons tallied 15 digs on the defensive side to go along with another career-high from Clemens who contributed eight as the Eagles were held to a .209 hitting percentage. Harvard's defense totaled 21 blocks on the night, marking the most by a Crimson squad since matching that number in a 3-2 win over Princeton April 5, 2011.
Harvard trailed 13-9 in the first set before using an 8-4 stretch to knot the match at 17-17 on a DJ White kill. Another short run put the Eagles in front again, 21-20, but four straight points behind DJ White at the service line punctuated by a Concordia error gave Harvard the first set, 25-21.
The teams battled back-and-forth throughout the second stanza which featured five lead changes and 13 ties with Harvard holding the set's biggest lead, 24-21. The Eagles closed the gap to notch the set 24-24. Concordia was able to couple two points together down the stretch for a 29-27 set victory that evened the match.
A kill by Rehkemper opened the third set, before Concordia surged ahead, 13-11. The Crimson remained close, but could not formulate a rally to overtake the Eagles largest lead of the frame, 22-16. Concordia persevered to take the set, 25-20.
It was all Crimson in the fourth set as kills by DJ White and Clemens helped Harvard to a 14-8 lead. Rehkemper's 51st ace of his career, which put him in sole posssion of 10th place in Harvard's record book, and third of the night put the score to 17-12 before two Eagles errors gave the Crimson a six-point margin, 19-13. Harvard went on to score six of the next 10 points to take the set, 25-17 and force a fifth frame.
The fifth and final set was another tight affair as the teams found themselves even at 7. Two straight errors by the Crimson found Harvard trailing 10-9, but a 4-2 spurt out of a timeout found the Crimson back on top, 13-12. DJ White's second ace of the night and a Zimmick smash sealed the 15-12 victory.
Harvard returns to action this weekend when it entertains Rutgers-Newark and NJIT. The Scarlet Raiders visit Cambridge Friday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. while the Highlanders visit the MAC Saturday, March 1 at 4 p.m.