Harvard hit .300 or better as a team for the sixth-straight match (Gil Talbot).
FAIRFIELD, Conn. - The No. 15 Harvard men's volleyball team won its fourth-straight match in its EIVA opener, defeating Sacred Heart in four sets, 3-1. The victory came by set scores of 18-25, 25-19, 25-13, and 25-22.
DJ White posted 16 kills while hitting .394 for Harvard (5-3), which hit .357 as a team. The match marked the Crimson's sixth-straight match hitting .300 or better. Casey White and Branden Clemens each added nine kills, while Caleb Zimmick had seven. Nick Bendell, meanwhile, dished out a season-high 42 assists.
Defensively, Casey White led the team with 11 digs, his third match in double-digits, with DJ White close behind with eight. Zimmick recorded a season-high six blocks, helping to limit the Pioneers (1-5, 0-1 EIVA) to a .240 hitting percentage.
Sacred Heart got out to an early 1-0 advantage, leading the entire first period. Harvard hit just .182 in the set, its only frame below .400. After trailing early, the Crimson managed to cut the lead to two, 14-12, after a kill from Zimmick, but the Pioneers would rally to score five of the next six points, and go on to take the game, 25-18.
The Crimson got out to an early 8-2 lead in the second, led by a balanced attack where four Crimson student-athletes scored points. The advantage did not dip below three points again in the period, as Harvard used multiple two-point runs to even the match at one apiece.
Similar to the second set, the third stanza saw Harvard get out to an insurmountable lead. Four early kills from DJ White helped the Crimson start on a 13-5 run, and White would record two more kills in the period to help Harvard pull away, 25-13. The Crimson gained a 2-1 lead with the third-set triumph.
Neither team could gain an advantage early in the final frame, and were deadlocked at nine apiece before Harvard broke off a five-point run sparked by a pair of blocks and an ace from Clemens. The Pioneers rallied to close Harvard's advantage to two, 21-19, but the White brothers each registered a kill to help Harvard win the set, 25-22, and match, 3-1.
Harvard moved to 1-0 in conference play with the win, and continues with its EIVA schedule on the road at Princeton February 13 and NJIT February 14. Both matches are set to begin at 7 p.m.