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No. 15 Men’s Volleyball Swept by EIVA Leader No. 12 Penn State

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White tallied 11 kills, including seven in the first set, but the Crimson could not overcome the Nittany Lions Friday (photo courtesy Zack Williamson).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Senior Nick Madden and junior DJ White registered 11 kills and 10 kills, respectively, but the No. 15 Harvard men's volleyball team fell to No. 12 Penn State, 3-0, Friday night at the Malkin Athletic Center.

Junior Caleb Zimmick chipped in nine kills for Harvard (12-7, 8-3 EIVA) and senior Kyle Rehkemper added six kills , with Rehkemper hitting a match-best .857. Freshman Nick Bendell tallied 34 assists. Defensively, senior Chirs Gibbons led the Crimson with nine digs while freshman Casey White contributed seven. Zimmick paced Harvard at the net with three blocks.

Redshirt junior Nick Goodell notched a match-high 16 kills on .375 hitting to help Penn State (18-6, 9-1 EIVA) remain in first place in the league.

Despite seven kills from DJ White in the first set, the Crimson fell to the Nittany Lions, 25-23. Harvard fell in a 4-1 hole to open the frame, but the Crimson didn't let up. Trailing 5-3, DJ White notched his first of our consecutive kills that kept the hosts within one point of the visitors, 8-7. A kill from the junior's brother, Casey White, knotted the game at eight, before an ace from Rehkemper put the Crimson ahead, 9-8. Harvard's held a 13-10 advantage before Penn State scored seven unanswered points to regain the edge, 17-13, and the Nittany Lions never trailed again en route to the set victory.

Harvard came out strong in the second set, with a block from Zimmick giving the Crimson a 11-7 lead. A flurry of Penn State points, culminating in a kill by Goodell evened the score at 20. Two errors from the Nittany Lions put Harvard back on top, but the visitors stormed back and tied the score at 22 to force a Crimson timeout. Out of the break, a scoring kill by Aaron Russell gave the Nittany Lions a slim 23-22 edge, but it was short lived as Rehkemper slammed a kill to equalize the score for the ninth time in the stanza. Penn State coupled two back-to-back points to take the second set, 25-23.

The Crimson jumped out to an early 8-4 lead in the final frame. The teams traded points, but Harvard managed to hold onto a 14-11 edge. Penn State never let up, however, and inched its way back tying the set at 18 off a Goodell kill. The score would even two more times before the Nittany Lions tallied five of the final seven points to seal the sweep.

Harvard returns to the MAC tomorrow at 4 p.m. for its final home contest of the regular season against Saint Francis (Pa.). Prior to first serve, the Crimson will honor its five graduating seniors.