Men’s Volleyball Heads to Sacred Heart for Second Faceoff this Season

Men’s Volleyball Heads to Sacred Heart for Second Faceoff this Season

Match Info
Series Record
Last Meeting

Harvard at Sacred Heart
Saturday, March 26, 2016
4 p.m.
William H. Pitt Center
Live stats
Harvard leads, 27-7
W, 3-0 (March 5, 2016)

Kostich is now one of eight student-athletes with over 1,000 assists (Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard men's volleyball team travels to Fairfield, Connecticut for its second match against Sacred Heart on Saturday, March 26 with the first serve at 4 p.m. at the William H. Pitt Center. 

Last Time Out
The Crimson fell to No. 15 Cal Baptist, 3-1, to drop to  9-7 overall. Brad Gretsch led the charge recording a career-high 16 kills, one ace, and two blocks, while Branden Clemens chipped in 14 kills and seven digs. Marko Kostich tallied 41 assists in the loss, becoming just the eighth member of the Crimson to eclipse 1,000 career assists. 

Related Link: Men's Volleyball Takes First Set, Falls in Four to No. 15 Cal Baptist

Scouting Sacred Heart
Sacred Heart sports a 5-12 overall record and a 3-4 EIVA mark. The Pioneer's Chris Delucie is averaging 3.67 kills per set, good for sixth in the conference, while Austin Arcala follows closely in seventh place with 3.56 kills per set. Taylor Bloomquist and Doug Dzema top the Pioneer's leaderboard in blocks per set averaging 0.83 and 0.71, respectively.

Honor Roll
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 Feb. 22, Feb. 29, and March 7.

Related Links:

Dow Recognized as EIVA Defensive Player of the Week
White Recognized as EIVA Defensive Player of the Week

Around the EIVA
No. 10 Penn State stands atop the EIVA standings with a 7-1 record, while Harvard and St. Francis (Pa.) follow at 5-2 and 5-3, respectively. NJIT is fourth with a 4-3 mark, as George Mason, Sacred Heart, and Princeton are tied for fifth with 3-4 records. Charleston (0-9) rounds out the conference standings in the final position.

EIVA Leaders
The Crimson tops the league in three categories, including hitting percentage (.304), digs per set (9.14), and aces per set (1.36). Harvard ranks second in blocks per set (2.30) and opponent hitting percentage (.250), while also placing fourth in assists per set (11.52) and kills per set (12.38).

Brad Gretsch sits first in aces averaging 0.45 per set. Branden Clemens holds a .331 hitting percentage, good for second, while also ranking third with 3.86 kills per set and sixth in digs per set with 2.17. Marko Kostich averages 10.33 assists per set for a third-place ranking, while Casey White ranks third in digs per set with 2.37 and seventh in hitting percentage with a .275 clip. Freshman Trevor Dow is third, while sophomore Riley Moore is fifth averaging 0.96 and 0.95 blocks per set, respectively.

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. 

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.

Related Links:

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

Double-Digit Kills
Branden Clemens has posted double-digit kills in 13 of the last 14 matches. For his career, Clemens has tallied double-digit kills in 42 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 to give him 1,022 helpers, good for seventh on Harvard's all-time list. The leader, Rob Lotham '13 accumulated 3,094 in his four years in Crimson.

Chasing Records
Head coach Brian Baise is in his eighth season at Harvard and is two wins away from becoming the second Crimson coach to reach 100 victories. 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
Service Aces    
1. Matt Jones '12
3. Abbas Hyderi '95-96
4. Evan Beachy '98
5. Gil Weintruab '10
    Branden Clemens '16



1. Chris Gibbons '14
2. DJ White '15
3. Nick Madden '14
4. Branden Clemens '16
5. Matt Jones '12
6. Casey White '17 

Solo Blocks    
1. Ryan Estendorf '96
5. Dave Olson '98
6. Ryan Oliver '98
    Seamus McKiernan '06
    Branden Clemens '16
1995-96, 98
Block Assists    
1. Ed Panaku '00
5. Kyle Rehkemper '14
6. Matt Jones '12
7. Branden Clemens '16 
Total Blocks    
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.

Related Links:


Branden Clemens – Men's Volleyball
Casey White – Men's Volleyball
Brad Gretsch – Men's Volleyball

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 (474), fifth in aces (67) and kills (802), seventh in block assists (151) and solo blocks (29), and ninth in total blocks (180).  

Back in Crimson
Head coach Brian Baise welcomed back three starters including senior captain Brendan Clemens and sophomores Brad Gretsch and Marko Kostich. Clemens was selected to the All-EIVA first team last season after posting a career-high 3.11 kills per set and 1.79 digs per set. Kostich sits seventh on Harvard's career assists list with 1,022, while Gretsch finished his freshmen year with 1.76 kills per set. Senior Alister Bent and junior Samuel Murphy will both see time at libero this season.

Fresh Faces
Harvard added two middle blockers to the 2016 roster; Trevor Dow from Needham, Massachusetts, and Spencer Scott from Oak Lawn, Illinois.

A Year Ago
Harvard finished 2015 with a 13-12 record, including a 7-5 mark in conference play. The Crimson earned a berth to the EIVA Tournament for the fourth-consecutive year, but fell to George Mason, 3-1, in the semifinals. DJ White '15 led the Crimson with 3.24 kills per set, while AVCA honorable mention All-American Caleb Zimmick '15 ranked 13th in the country in blocks per set (1.17) and 16th in hitting percentage (.359). White was also ranked 11th in digs per set with 2.29. As a team, Harvard ranked 11th in the nation with a .277 hitting percentage and 12th in blocks per set at 2.48.

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 98-79 record on the sidelines, including a 73-41 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.

What's Next?
The Crimson welcomes EIVA opponent Charleston (W.V.) to the Malkin Athletic Center on Friday, April 1 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, April 2 at 4 p.m. Both contests will be broadcast on the Ivy League Digital Network.