The Crimson and the Saints will meet for the first time Tuesday (photo courtesy Zach Williamson).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – After defeating Princeton to record a regular season sweep of the Tigers, the Harvard men's volleyball team returns home to the Malkin Athletic Center for a mid-week match against Marymount (Va.) Tuesday, March 11 at 7 p.m.
Scouting Marymount (Va.)
Coming off two straight set victories at the 10th Annual York College Men's Volleyball Classic, the Saints bring a 6-10 record to Massachusetts for their spring break swing. Marymount's attack is led by Bryce Ernsberger, who averages 4.44 kps, while Tomasz Ksiazkiewicz adds 2.89 kps. Bronson Summers-Torress runs the offense from the setter position, and has notched 8.98 aps. Ernsberg and Matt Malloy have turned in 2.16 dps and 1.44 dps, respectively, while Ksiazkiewicz controls the front line with 1.00 bps. Prior to the match on Tuesday, the Saints open their spring break trip at Springfield Monday, March 10.
Inside the Series with the Saints
Harvard and Marymount will meet for the first time Tuesday.
Harvard concludes its non-conference slate next week, when it travels to the Buckeye State. The Crimson visits Ball State Sunday, March 16 at 4 p.m., before venturing to Ohio State Tuesday, March 18 at 7 p.m.
Last Time Out
Senior Nick Madden recorded his second double-double of the season and sixth of his career to lift Harvard over Princeton, 3-2, Saturday afternoon at Dillon Gym. The victory came by set scores of 20-25, 25-20, 18-25, 25-18 and 15-12.
With the win, Harvard earned a regular season series sweep of Princeton and ended the Tigers' six-match win streak. The five-set match marks the second time this year and fourth time in the previous five meetings between the two programs that the match went the distance, with the Crimson owning each five-set thrilling wins.
Madden's 10 kill, 11 dig effort paced Harvard's attack while freshman Casey White scored 10 kills and was one dig shy of a double-double with nine. Brother DJ White notched nine kills while senior Kyle Rehkemper and junior Caleb Zimmick chipped in eight kills each. Freshman Nick Bendell handled the setting responsibilities, dishing out 36 assists. Senior Chris Gibbons and Rehkemper contributed to the defensive effort with 11 digs and five blocks, respectively.
Where We Stand
At 7-2, Harvard holds a half-match point over third-place Princeton (6-2) to hold onto second in the EIVA standings behind No. 14 Penn State who sits atop the league with a 6-1 conference mark. St. Francis' (Pa.) 4-3 mark is good for fourth while George Mason lands fifth at 5-5. Sacred Heart comes in at sixth with a 2-6 ledger. NJIT (1-6) and Rutgers-Newark (0-6) round out the standings at seventh and eighth, respectively.
The Crimson started EIVA play at 6-1 for the first time in program history. With the weekend sweep of Rutgers-Newark and NJIT, Harvard displaced its prior record to start league action, 5-2, in 2012 en route to a 10-4 EIVA record and second place regular-season finish.
Rank and File
After knocking off two ranked opponents in pool play at the Asics Invitational Jan. 3, Harvard entered the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division I-II poll at a program-best 13th Jan. 6. The Crimson remained in the national mix for three-straight weeks, and has since received votes each week.
Related Link: AVCA Division I-II National Poll
Harvard will host its second annual EIVA Rally night Friday, April 4 against Penn State to help raise funds and awareness towards cancer research. The EIVA formed the "EIVA Rallies" campaign last year to benefit the Memorial Sloan-Keetering Cancer Center. For more information or to make a donation, please click here.
Matches at the MAC
The Crimson has hosted 54 opponents in 111 matches under the roof of the Malkin Athletic Center to boast a 79-32 (.712) all-time mark at Home. Harvard's home court advantage includes a record-best nine-match win streak at that lasted more than a calendar year between Feb. 18, 2012 to April 5, 2013. Currently the Crimson has won five-straight in the friendly confines of the MAC.
DJ White has scored 147 kills this season, including a season-best 18 against NJIT March 1. The junior's team-high 3.00 kps is the 10th best in the conference and tied for the 42nd-best in the nation. As a team, Harvard notches the NCAA's 30th-best kps average with 11.46.
Harvard protected the net against Concordia, posting 21 total blocks, a season high and the most by a Crimson squad since matching that number in a 3-2 win over Princeton April 5, 2011. Currently, Harvard ranks No. 28 in the NCAA in blocks per set (2.12). On the individual list, Caleb Zimmick (1.00 bps) sits tied for 23rd.
Harvard has received three double-double efforts this season. Nick Madden registered a double-double performance at St. Francis (Pa.) (14 kills, 13 digs) Feb.21 and Princeton (11 kills, 10 digs) March 8. Caleb Zimmick poured in 13 kills and 12 blocks for the first double-double of his career against Concordia Feb. 25. Six current Crimson have notched a double-double in their career with Madden leading the way with six.
The White Brothers
Casey and DJ White have been instrumental to the Crimson on both sides of the net thus far this season. The Hermosa Beach, Calif., natives have combined for nearly one-third third of Harvard's blocks (33-110), digs (136-486) and service aces (17-53). Offensively, the brothers have notched 42.3 percent (252-596) of the Crimson's attack.
Setting it Up
Nick Bendell has served as the Crimson's primary setter in his first collegiate campaign. Bendell has dished out 9.31 aps, which lands 24th in the NCAA and fifth in the EIVA, to lead Harvard to the nation's 20th-best hitting percentage (.260).
Serving Up Aces
Senior Nick Madden has turned in a total of 13 aces this season, bringing his career total to 53, which puts him tenth on Harvard's career list. Currently the Crimson as a team ranks 26th in the nation with 1.02 aces per set. Classmate Kyle Rehkemper looks to enter the Crimson aces annals as the middle blocker has totaled 52.
Casey White has been named to Off the Block's National Freshman of the Week honorable mention list twice this season. The outside hitter picked up his first accolade Feb. 17 after helping the Crimson to a 2-0 weekend by averaging 2.75 kps and 1.00 dps against Princeton and George Mason. The Hermosa Beach, Calif., native earned his second honorable mention nod March 3 after posting 2.25 kps, 1.13 dps and 0.25 bps in a 3-0 week for Harvard versus Concordia, Rutgers-Newark and NJIT.
Related Link: Off the Block
And the Award Goes To
Three Crimson student-athletes have earned EIVA Defensive Player of the Week accolades thus far this season.
DJ White earned the honor after pacing Harvard with 2.43 kps, 1.57 dps and 1.5 bps for the Crimson's efforts against two top-15 teams Jan. 27. Kyle Rehkemper was tabbed defensive player of the week for his 2.00 bps, 1.00 kps, 2.50 points per set and .333 hitting percentage performance in Harvard's EIVA opener against Sacred Heart Feb 7. Nick Madden picked up his first weekly award after posting 2.13 kps, 2.39 dps and .500 bps in a 1-1 week for the Crimson March 10.
DJ White and Rehkemper have been selected for best player over a seven-day stretch three times each.
Eight active players have already made a place for themselves in Harvard's record book. Chris Gibbons owns the top spot for career digs (705) while Will Chambers' .430 hitting percentage sits atop the career list. Nick Madden finds himself on five of the Crimson's career annals; third in block assists (197), tied for fourth in total blocks (217) and digs (412), fifth in kills (769) and tenth in aces (53). DJ White etched his name on four lists as the junior holds the seventh best hitting percentage (.307) and total kills (633) and eighth-best kps (2.96) and total digs 316. Kyle Rehkemper and Caleb Zimmick rank in the top-10 on three lists each. Rehkemper sits fifth in block assists (181), seventh in total blocks (202) and eighth hitting percentage (.287). Zimmick lands on each of the block lists with 32 solo blocks (4th), 185 block assists (4th) and 217 total blocks (T-4th). Michael Owen's 127 block assists are good for seventh while Nick Bendell's 456 assists land ninth.
Related Link: Men's Volleyball Record Book
Seniors Chris Gibbons and Kyle Rehkemper earned spots on the 50th Asics Invitational All-Tournament team after helping Harvard down two ranked opponents – then-No. 5 Stanford and then-No. 8 UCSB – to reach the championship round of the invite. Rehkemper contributed to the Crimson's offense with 13 kills and a .792 hitting percentage while Gibbons registered nine digs.
Coming off an appearance in the EIVA Tournament championship, Harvard was been picked third in the 2014 EIVA Preseason Poll. The Crimson's third place pick is its highest ever finish in the poll with 23 points.
Defending champion Penn State was chosen to repeat, receiving seven of the eight first-place votes for nine points, while Princeton was selected second with a total of 20 points and the one remaining first-place vote. George Mason (32 points), St. Francis (Pa.) (38), NJIT (50), Sacred Heart (52) and Rutgers-Newark (64) rounded out the preseason rankings.
Related Link: Men's Volleyball Tabbed Third in EIVA Preseason Poll
Ivy League Digital Network
For the first time ever, each of Harvard's 11 home matches will be streamed in HD quality featuring a live scoreboard, new graphics package and play-by-play commentary through the Ivy League Digital Network. Subscribers to the network can watch matches both live and on-demand at their convenience, and will have access to live and on-demand content for all Harvard athletics events throughout the duration of their subscription.