Harvard clinches the second seed at the EIVA Championships (Gil Talbot)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – On a day honoring senior captains DJ White and Caleb Zimmick for four years of dedication, Harvard men's volleyball took down Sacred Heart, 3-2, to claim the second seed at the EIVA Championships. The win came by set scores of 25-20, 20-25, 25-22, 20-25 and 15-8.
Branden Clemens posted a season-high 18 kills to lead the Harvard (13-11, 7-5 EIVA) attack, while Casey White and DJ White contributed 16 kills and 15 kills, respectively. Marko Kostich dished a career-high 53 assists, helping Harvard to a .318 hitting percentage in the match.
Defensively, Casey White turned in a match-high 12 digs to record his second double-double of the season, and Alec Schlossman recorded a career-best 11 digs. At the net, Clemens, Brad Gretsch and Riley Moore each blocked five Sacred Heart (12-13, 3-9 EIVA) attacks, while Kostich and Casey White had two apiece.
Harvard leapt out to an early lead in the first set, 9-4, and kept a three-point advantage, or larger, through the remainder of the opening frame. Casey White sparked the offense with six kills in the period, while DJ White posted three of Harvard's final six points to put away the Pioneers and take a 1-0 lead.
Sacred Heart rallied in the second period, topping the Crimson 25-20. Harvard dug an early five-point hole, 10-5, but battled to cut the Pioneers' lead to three after a quick three-point spurt. Errors plagued the Crimson late in the set, allowing Sacred Heart to knot the score.
The Crimson regained the momentum in the third set, leading from start to finish to secure a 2-1 match advantage. Harvard hit .393 in the third game, which prevented a significant run by Sacred Heart.
The Pioneers tied the tally for the second time in the match with a 25-20 win in the fourth stanza. Sacred Heart held a narrow lead throughout the period, and with the score at 19-18, the Pioneers rattled off six of the final eight points to force a decisive fifth frame.
The Crimson attack came alive in the fifth set, as Clemens and DJ White each tallied four kills. Harvard jumped out to an early 4-0 lead to prompt a Pioneers' timeout, led by two scores from Clemens. The Crimson did not relent, winning the final set 15-8 to take the match.
With the win Harvard earned the second seed in the EIVA Tournament, and will face either George Mason or Princeton on Wednesday, April 29 at Penn State.