CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - A pair of midweek matches await the Harvard men's volleyball team, which is returning home after falling in two matches of conference play last weekend. The Crimson looks to get back on track as it hosts MIT on Tuesday, March 5 at 7 p.m. and visits Emmanuel Thursday, March 7 at 7 p.m.
The Harvard men's volleyball team fell in a four-set decision at Princeton, 18-25, 22-25, 25-14 and 14-25. DJ White and Nick Madden paced the Crimson with nine kills each. The loss followed a straight-set defeat at George Mason, marking the first time since the 2011 season that Harvard has been swept during a weekend slate.
Harvard is currently in fourth place of the EIVA standings with a 5-3 conference mark and a 9-4 overall record. The Crimson is third in the conference in hitting percentage (.256) and assists (11.47), fourth in kills (12.31) and blocks (2.40), and ranks seventh in digs (8.62).
Men's volleyball national ranking summary through games played March 3.
MIT heads into the week ranked No. 13 among the NCAA DIII teams and carries an 11-9 record into Tuesday's match. MIT dropped its last two matches, 3-2, including a contest with top-ranked Springfield College. As a unit, the Engineers have averaged 12.20 kps while hitting .235. MIT also produces 11.10 aps, 11.56 dps and 1.55 bps.
Emmanuel received votes in the most recent AVCA poll, but is not carrying a ranking after falling to Springfield College in straight sets last weekend. Emmanuel is 4-9 on the year. The Saints are hitting .200 through 13 matches and average 11.38 kps, 10.38 aps, 1.63 bps and 8.38 dps.
Harvard won six straight matches from Feb. 2 to Feb. 23, it longest streak since winning 13 in a row in 2005. During that span, the Crimson won four matches in straight sets, also matching the 2005 team's streak of four consecutive sweeps.
Harvard has fallen from the AVCA Division I-II Poll after being ranked in consecutive weeks. The Crimson reached as high as No. 14, the highest ranking in program history.
Sophomore DJ White recently earned a pair of honors, being named both the AVCA Division I-II National Player of the Week and EIVA Offensive Player of the Week. The praise comes 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.
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 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.
Story courtesy of Harvard