CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The No. 14 Harvard men's volleyball team will put its six-match win streak on the line this weekend as it travels to George Mason and Princeton for a pair of EIVA matches. The Crimson will first face the Patriots Friday, March 1 at 7 p.m. before taking on the Tigers Saturday, March 2 at 4 p.m.
A live video stream and live stats will be available during Friday's match through gomason.com by clicking here. A live video stream and live stats will also be available during Saturday's match through goprincetontigers.com by clicking here.
Last Time Out
The Harvard men's volleyball team recorded its second sweep of the weekend and earned its sixth straight win Saturday with a 3-0 victory on the road over Rutgers-Newark. The victory came by set scores of 25-15, 28-26 and 25-18. Branden Clemens led a potent offensive attack by recording a match high 12 kills and committing only two errors en route to a .625 hitting percentage.
Around the League
Harvard is currently in second place of the EIVA standings with a 5-1 conference mark and a 9-2 overall record. The Crimson leads the conference in hitting percentage (.276), is second in kills (12.66), third in assists (11.76) and blocks (2.53), and ranks seventh in digs (8.47).
Individually, Branden Clemens is eighth in the conference with 2.95 kps. Clemens and Caleb Zimmick rank first and fourth with hitting percentages of .349 and .305, respectively. Rob Lothman is third among EIVA setters with 10.27 aps while Chris Gibbons comes in fourth among liberos with 2.32 dps. Zimmick also boasts the third best blocking average at 1.16 bps with Kyle Rehkemper chipping in 0.97 bps, good for 9th.
Men's volleyball national ranking summary through games played Feb. 23.
Scouting George Mason
George Mason comes into the weekend tied for third place in the EIVA standings with a 3-2 conference mark and 5-7 overall. The Patriots have averaged 12.33 kps while hitting just .217, ranking fourth and fifth in the conference, respectively. George Mason is also fourth in assists (11.65) and second in blocks (2.69), but first in the league in digs (9.77).
Andrew Kentler leads the Patriots attack with 3.48 kps while Michael Kvidahl has added 3.12 kps. Javier perez has served as the team's primary setter and has dished out 10.33 aps. Defensively, George Mason is once again paced by Kentler's 1.80 dps, tenth highest in the EIVA.
Princeton is tied for third place in the EIVA standings with an 3-2 conference record and an overall mark of 5-3. The Tigers lead the league in blocks (2.80) and are second in assists (11.78), third in hitting percentage (.270) and kills per set average (12.38), but rank sixth in digs (9.57).
Pat Schwagler leads the Princeton attack with 4.10 kps, the highest total in the EIVA, while Devin Stearns has added 2.63 kps. Davis Waddell has averaged 10.14 aps as the team's primary setter while Tony Ensbury has paced the defense with 2.19 dps.
Harvard has won six straight matches, its longest streak since winning 13 in a row in 2005. The Crimson's last four wins have come in straight sets, also matching the 2005 teams' streak of four consecutive sweeps.
Taking Home the Hardware
Sophomore DJ White earned a pair of honors recently being named both the AVCA Division I-II National Player of the Week and EIVA Offensive Player of the Week. The praise came after White averaged 4.17 kills per set and hit .477 as the Crimson knocked off No. 9 Penn State and St. Francis (Pa.) in straight sets.
White is the first member of the Crimson to earn the national recognition. He has been named the conference's offensive player of the week twice this season and has earned the distinction three times in his career.
Harvard was ranked No. 14 in this week's AVCA Division I-II Poll, marking the second straight week the Crimson has been ranked and the highest ranking in program history. Harvard earned the first national ranking last year in week 14 and remained in the poll at No. 15 for the final four weeks.
The Crimson ended a 51-match drought for conference opponents versus Penn State when it upset the ninth-ranked Nittany Lions Feb. 15, 3-0. Penn State's last loss to an EIVA conference foe came on March 7, 2008 to George Mason, 3-1.
Harvard's 3-0 victory over then ninth-ranked Penn State marked the team's second win over a ranked opponent in as many years. Last season, the Crimson knocked off No. 12 Call State Northridge, 3-1, to record the program's first victory against a ranked team under head coach Brian Baise.
Harvard is 19-6 in the friendly confines of the Malkin Athletic Center since the start of 2011 including a 3-0 mark this year. The Crimson has won seven straight matches at home dating back to last season and has captured each of its last three home openers.
The Crimson recorded 17.5 blocks at No. 6 Penn State, the team's highest total over the last three seasons. Caleb Zimmick led the way with eight total blocks as Michael Owen and Kyle Rehkemper each turned in seven. Nick Madden and Rob Lothman also got in on the action, registering six blocks and four blocks, respectively.
Harvard's season high for blocks in 2012 was 17 at Rutgers-Newark.
Harvard swept Stevens, NYU and St. Francis (Pa.) to open the year, marking the third straight season that the Crimson has started the year with at least two victories. Harvard's three straight-set victories, meanwhile, had not been accomplished since 1993 when the squad posted four sweeps in its first four matches.
Catch the Crimson in 2013
Harvard will host 11 home matches at the Malkin Athletic Center this season and each will be streamed live online through GoCrimson.com. Fans can also watch each match On Demand approximately two hours after completion. One-year subscriptions are available for $49.95 and allow access to every home event streamed by the Crimson, including football, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's hockey and men's soccer. For more information or to sign up today, click here.
Captaining the Ship
Rob Lothman and Nick Madden will serve as the team's captains for the 2013 season. Lothman was named to the All-EIVA second team in 2012 after setting a career-high with 888 assists, the fifth-best single-season total in program history. Lothman directed the Crimson attack to a .298 hitting percentage, which ranked seventh in the NCAA, while his 10.1 assists per set were good for 18th in the nation. Madden, meanwhile, started all 24 matches last year for the Crimson and ranked second on the squad in kills (3.01) and points (3.6). His 268 kills in 2012 were good for eighth in program history while his 147 career blocks rank his sixth all-time.
Harvard is coming off one of the most successful seasons in program history, as the Crimson earned its first-ever national ranking in 2012 and finished the year at No. 15 in the AVCA Coaches Poll. Harvard posted an 18-6 overall record and took second in the EIVA with a 10-4 conference mark, with the team's 18 wins representing the third-highest total ever.
Head coach Brian Baise was tabbed as the EIVA Coach of the Year as a result of the squad's success while Matt Jones, DJ White and Rob Lothman all earned all-conference accolades.
Story courtesy of Harvard