Seniors Bent, Clemens and Schlossman have led the Crimson to three-straight EIVA Tournament appearances (Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard men's volleyball team hosts Princeton on Friday, April 15 with a 7 p.m. start time and NJIT on Saturday, April 16 with first serve at 4 p.m. Prior to playing the Tigers, the Crimson will honor its three seniors with a special Senior Day Ceremony. On Saturday, Harvard will recognize the classes of 1983, 1985, 1993, and 2001 with a banner unveiling honoring the Ivy League Tournament Championships won by these teams. Both matches will be broadcast on the Ivy League Digital Network.
Last Time Out
Harvard fell to No. 11 Penn State, 3-0, and dropped a match to St. Francis (Pa.), 3-2. Against the Nittany Lions, three Crimson players recorded a team-high six kills including Brad Gretsch, Riley Moore and Branden Clemens. Harvard's Casey White tallied his fifth career double-double with 12 kills and 12 digs, while Clemens posted his 17th match with double-digit kills and a match-high of 16 against the Red Flash.
Princeton ranks seventh in conference standings with a 3-9 EIVA record and a 3-17 overall mark. The Tigers' Devin Stearns averages 3.46 kills per set, while Billy Andrew registers 0.81 blocks per set. Michael Bagnell leads the team in digs per set with 2.19, as Chris Kennedy tops all Tigers in assists with 6.69 per set.
NJIT is tied for fifth with Harvard in the EIVA standings with a 7-5 conference record and an 8-16 overall mark. The Highlander's Jabarry Goodridge was named EIVA Offensive Player of the Week twice, as Raphael Anthony and Luke Robbe have earned EIVA Defensive Player of the Week once each. Goodridge tops NJIT's leaderboards in hitting percentage (.317) and aces per set (0.34). TJ Turko notches 3.20 kills per set, while Anthony registers 1.00 blocks per set.
No. 9 Penn State will be the host for the 2016 EIVA Tournament. Below are scenarios in which Harvard can clinch its fifth-straight appearance this year:
- If the Crimson wins both matches this weekend, it has an automatic bid to the tournament.
- With an NJIT and a Harvard loss on Friday, Harvard must win 3-0 or 3-1 over the Highlanders on Saturday.
- NJIT must lose Friday against Sacred Heart and Saturday versus Harvard.
Around the EIVA
No. 9 Penn State stands atop the EIVA standings with an 11-1 record and has clinched the No. 1 seed, and right to host the EIVA Championships, while No. 15 St. Francis (Pa.) and George Mason follow at 8-4. Harvard is tied for fourth with NJIT both with 7-5 marks, as Sacred Heart sits sixth with a 4-8 record. Princeton and Charleston (W.Va.) round out the final two spots in the conference with 3-9 and 0-12 marks, respectively.
The Crimson tops the league in hitting percentage (.296) and aces per set (1.33). Harvard ranks second in blocks per set (2.15), while also sitting third in opponent hitting percentage (.252) and digs per set (8.75). The Crimson also ranks fourth in assists per set (11.12) and kills per set (11.87).
Brad Gretsch sits third in aces averaging 0.36 per set and ninth in hitting percentage with a .269 clip. Branden Clemens holds a .311 hitting percentage, good for fourth, while also ranking fifth with 3.64 kills per set. Clemens also falls ninth among the conference in digs per set (1.92) and aces per set (0.30). Marko Kostich averages 9.88 assists per set for a fourth-place ranking, while Casey White ranks fifth in hitting percentage with a .287 clip and sixth in digs per set averaging 2.22 per set. Riley Moore is fifth, while Trevor Dow is ninth averaging 0.92 and 0.86 blocks per set, respectively.
Junior Casey White was named EIVA Defensive Player of the Week on March 7 after posting a career-high 21 digs in 3-0 triumph over Sacred Heart. Freshman Trevor Dow was named EIVA Defensive Player of the Week on Feb. 29 after registering a career-high six blocks in a 3-0 victory at Princeton and again the following night at NJIT. The Needham, Massachusetts native also was named Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week honorable mention on each week from Feb. 22-March 21 and April 4.
||Dow Recognized as EIVA Defensive Player of the Week
White Recognized as EIVA Defensive Player of the Week
Vs. Ranked Opponents
Harvard surpassed No. 15 St. Francis on Feb. 13, 3-0. It marked the first time the Crimson had defeated a ranked opponent since Jan. 23, 2015 against No. 14 Ball State, 3-0.
Brad Gretsch returned a difficult serve from Charleston (W.Va.) that reached the banners as Casey White hit the ball to keep it alive and Samuel Murphy swung the ball over the net from back court. The Golden Eagles returned the ball with a hard attack, but Riley Moore and Gretsch were there to block it for an 18-9 advantage in the fourth set, good for No. 3 on the Top 5 Plays.
Against No. 15 Cal Baptist, Marko Kostich saved the ball by the Crimson's bench enough for Brad Gretch to lift it over. The Lancers rallied again, but Gretsch was able to tip the attack as Samuel Murphy dove for the dig, Kostich set up another attempt for Harvard, as Branden Clemens swung and found the back corner of the court.
Riley Moore's kill in the third set against Sacred Heart earned the fifth spot on Harvard's Top Five Plays of the Week video on March 9. After Samuel Murphy received the serve, Marko Kostich set up Moore for the attack but his attempt was blocked by the Pioneer's front line. The ball ricocheted off of Moore's face and hit the ground, giving the Crimson the point.
The Crimson earned the fifth spot on Harvard's Top Five Plays of the Week video on Feb. 17. In an all-around effort by Branden Clemens, the senior recovered the ball by the Crimson bench off a bad dig, keeping Harvard alive in the point. After St. Francis was unable to capitalize, Marko Kostich set the ball for Clemens to hammer down the kill. The Crimson would take the match in three sets.
||Harvard Top 5 Plays of the Week – Feb. 17, 2016
Harvard Top 5 Plays of the Week – March 9, 2016
Harvard Top 5 Plays of the Week – March 23, 2016
Harvard Top 5 Plays of the Week – April 5, 2016
Branden Clemens has posted double-digit kills in 17 of the last 21 matches. For his career, Clemens has tallied double-digit kills in 73 matches.
A Grand Old Time
Eight current and former student-athletes have reached the 1,000-assist plateau in their careers. The newest member is sophomore Marko Kostich who tallied 41 assists against No. 15 Cal Baptist on Match 14, surpassing the milestone. The leader, Rob Lotham '13 accumulated 3,094 in his four years in Crimson.
Head coach Brian Baise is in his eighth season at Harvard and reached the 100-career wins mark, making him the second Harvard men's volleyball coach to reach this milestone. Multiple student-athletes are also looking to ascend the Crimson record books:
|1. Matt Jones '12
3. Brady Weissbourd '09
4. Nick Madden '14
5. Branden Clemens '16
|1. Rob Lothman '13
5. Gil Weintruab '09
6. Nick Bendell '17
7. Marko Kostich '18
|1. Matt Jones `12
3. Abbas Hyderi `95-96
4. Evan Beachy `98
5. Branden Clemens `16
1. Chris Gibbons '14
|1. Ryan Estendorf `96
4. Caleb Zimmick `15
5. Dave Olson `98
6. Branden Clemens `16
|1. Ed Panaku '00
5. Kyle Rehkemper '14
6. Matt Jones '12
7. Branden Clemens '16
|1. Ed Panaku '00
7. Matt Jones '12
8. Ryan Westendorf '96
9. Branden Clemens '16
COOP Student-Athlete of the Week
Senior Branden Clemens was named COOP Student-Athlete of the Week on Jan. 12, while junior Casey White was voted the same honor on Jan. 19. Brad Gretsch recently received the accolade as he won on Feb. 17.
Aye, Aye Captain
Senior Branden Clemens was elected captain for the 2016 season. Last year, Clemens was voted All-EIVA first team and EIVA All-Academic team after posting a career-high 3.11 kills per set and 1.79 digs per set. The Carmel, Indiana native continues to climb Harvard's record books, ranking fourth in digs (483), fifth in aces (71) and kills (833), sixth in solo blocks (30), seventh in block assists (155), and ninth in total blocks (185).
Back in Crimson
Senior Branden Clemens was elected captain for the 2016 season. Last year, Clemens was voted All-EIVA first team and EIVA All-Academic team after posting a career-high 3.11 kills per set and 1.79 digs per set. The Carmel, Indiana native continues to climb Harvard's record books, ranking third in digs (494), fifth in aces (74) and kills (855), sixth in solo blocks (30), seventh in block assists (157), and ninth in total blocks (187).
On The Sidelines
Head coach Brian Baise returns for his eighth season at the helm of the Harvard men's volleyball program. Baise owns a 100-82 record on the sidelines, including a 75-44 mark over the past five seasons.
Assistant coach Jeffrey Aucoin will return for his third season, with Harrison Hodgin and Christian Vandergeest joining the team as assistant coaches. Ahmed Ibrahim will also return with the Crimson but as its operations assistant.
Harvard contends for a spot to play in the EIVA playoffs this weekend, with semifinal matches scheduled for Thursday, April 21.