Men’s Volleyball Concludes Regular Season with 3-1 Win at Rutgers-Newark

A trio of Crimson led Harvard to its program record 11th EIVA regular season win (photo courtesy Zack Williamson).

NEWARK, N.J. – The Harvard men's volleyball team closed out its 2014 regular season with a 3-1 victory over Rutgers-Newark Saturday afternoon at the Golden Dome Arena. The win came by set scores of 21-25, 25-22, 27-25 and 25-15.

Harvard finishes the 2014 regular season with a 14-7 overall record and 11-3 in EIVA play, good for second place in conference action. The Crimson's 11 total league wins mark the most in program history.

A trio of Crimson recorded double-digit kills in the regular season finale with junior DJ White leading Harvard's attack for the 12th time this season with 15 kills. The junior hit .500 for the second straight day while classmate Caleb Zimmick and sophomore Branden Clemens added 13 kills and 12 kills, respectively. Senior Michael Owen passed out a career-high 58 assists and contributed seven digs to the defensive effort. Clemens also added seven digs while senior Will Chambers and Zimmick chipped in five blocks each on the defensive side of the net.

Jose Mendez tallied a match-17 kills to lead Rutgers-Newark (9-15, 1-11 EIVA).

Rutgers-Newark used a 9-4 run to break a 6-all tie in the first frame to take a 15-10 lead. A Chambers, Clemens block brought the Crimson within one, 18-17, but the Scarlet Raiders held Harvard off down the stretch to take the frame, 25-21.

Harvard battled back from a 13-9 deficit in the second set to even the score at 14 on a Zimmick kill.  The teams traded points before kills from DJ White and Alec Schlossman paired with a block from Clemens and Chambers gave the Crimson a 22-19 edge. Harvard scored the final three points to put the set away 25-22.

Similar to the second set, the Crimson fell behind early in the third. Trailing 1-4 Harvard used a 6-3 span to knot the game at 7 on a Zimmick kill before the junior notched another score to put the Crimson ahead for the first time in the stanza, 9-8. Harvard held onto its lead until Rutgers-Newark used a 9-5 stretch to equalize the set at 20-all. A kill by Clemens gave the Crimson set point, 24-23, but the Scarlet Raiders continued its comeback with back-to-back tallies to tie the set for the fourth time. It was Harvard who coupled two points together as Zimmick and DJ White recorded kills to give Harvard the set, 27-25.

Harvard came out swinging in the final frame and took a 16-7 lead of a Owen ace.  Kills by Zimmick and Clemens kept the Crimson in control with a 21-11 margin and Harvard held off Rutgers-Newark and recorded match point on a block by Madden and Chambers.

The Crimson awaits its opponent for the semifinal match of the EIVA tournament. The second-seeded Crimson will take the court against the third seed in University Park, Pa., Thursday, April 26 at a time to be determined.