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Harvard Closes Regular Season with Sacred Heart

Harvard Closes Regular Season with Sacred Heart

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – One week after clinching a berth in the EIVA Championships, Harvard men's volleyball will close its regular season with Senior Day against Sacred Heart Saturday, April 25 at 4 p.m.

Last Time Out
In a pivotal match with important postseason ramifications, Harvard dominated at the net to defeat George Mason, 3-1, and clinch a berth to the 2015 EIVA Championships. The victory came by set scores of 25-18, 18-25, 25-19, and 25-15.

DJ White paced the Crimson with a match-high 13 kills, while Branden Clemens neared a double-double with 11 kills and nine digs. Marko Kostich produced the first double-double of his career, finishing with 37 assists and 10 digs.

Harvard continually denied George Mason at the net, finishing with 12.5 total team blocks. Caleb Zimmick led the way with six rejections, while Riley Mooreadded five. All of the Crimson's front row-eligible players ended with two blocks or more, helping to limit the Patriots to a .106 hitting percentage.

Senior Send-off
After four years of dedication to the Harvard men's volleyball program, senior co-captains DJ White and Caleb Zimmick will be honored before the match with a Senior Day ceremony. This year's graduating class has helped the Crimson clinch a fourth-straight EIVA Championship appearance, and boasts a career record of 63-35, including a 37-16 mark in conference play and 32-9 record at home in the Malkin Athletic Center.

Around the EIVA
The last weekend of EIVA play could have major ramifications on the seeding in the conference playoffs, with the four-team field comprised of Penn State, Harvard, Princeton and George Mason. Penn State (17-9, 11-0 EIVA) has locked up first-place, and will host the tournament, while the second, third and fourth spots are up for grabs. If Harvard (12-11, 6-5 EIVA) beats Sacred Heart it will clinch a top-three seed, and will either face Princeton (11-11, 6-5 EIVA) or George Mason (12-12, 5-5 EIVA) in the first round.

Record Setter
With his third kill against Saint Francis, DJ White became the second Harvard student-athlete to eclipse 1,000 kills in his career and the first to record 1,000 kills and 500 digs. White is currently second in the Crimson record books in both categories.

Can You Dig It?
Through 23 matches Harvard ranks fourth in the country in digs per set (9.67). Casey White (10th, 2.30), DJ White (27th, 2.01), and Branden Clemens (44th, 1.78) all rank in the top-50 nationally in keeping the opponent's attack alive.

Hitting .300
Harvard has been one of the country's most efficient attacking teams, boasting the nation's 10th-best hitting percentage (.276). The Crimson has hit .300 or better 11 times, including a season-best .525 at home against Saint Francis (Pa.) on Feb. 27.

From Both Angles
Outside hitters DJ White and Branden Clemens pace the Crimson with 3.24 and 3.06 kills per set, respectively, ranking 27th and 37th in the country. White recorded a season-best 5.33 kills per frame in a three-set loss to IPFW, while Clemens' season high is 4.25, logged most recently at home against NJIT.

Short and Sweet
Through 23 matches, Harvard has only played a fifth set one time, doing so against Penn State on April 10. This season, 15 outings have gone to four sets, while seven were completed in three.

Player of the Month
Outside hitter Branden Clemens was named the Off the Block/Springbak National Player of the Month for February. Clemens was a focal point of the Crimson attack during its eight February matches, as he posted double-digit kills and hit .300 or better six times. He was named the MVP of the Hall of Fame Morgan Classic, held February 20-21, after recording 32 kills in the two matches to go with 10 digs and nine blocks. He also hit .475 at the tournament. Clemens received 10,518 votes to win the award.

Related Link: Clemens Named Off The Block/Springbak National Player of the Month

Honor Roll
For the fourth time this year, Caleb Zimmick was named the EIVA Defensive Player of the Week on April 20. The middle blocker recorded six blocks to help limit visiting George Mason to a .106 hitting percentage, and lead Harvard to a 3-1 win. The victory secured a place in the EIVA Playoffs for the Crimson. Zimmick's strong outing marked the eighth time this season he has rejected six or more attacks, and he continues to lead the EIVA with 1.17 blocks per set. Zimmick also earned the honor on January 26, February 23, and March 30.

Casey White and DJ White were each named the EIVA Offensive Player and Defensive Player of the Week earlier this season. Casey White earned offensive honors on January 26 and defensive accolades on March 23, while DJ White was named offensive player on February 9 and defensive player on April 13.

Related Links: Zimmick Recognized as EIVA Defensive Player of the Week ; DJ White Named EIVA Defensive Player of the Week; Caleb Zimmick Named EIVA Defensive Player of the Week; White Named EIVA Defensive Player of the Week ; Zimmick Named EIVA Defensive Player of the Week; DJ White Named EIVA Offensive Player of the Week ; White, Zimmick Sweep EIVA Weekly Awards

Poll Position
Harvard rose to No. 13 in the AVCA Division I-II Top 15 Poll on February 9, tying the program record for highest ranking. The Crimson has been ranked in each of the last four seasons, and for three weeks in 2015.

Ranking Superlatives
Total Weeks Ranked by AVCA – 13
Consecutive Weeks Ranked – 4, April 9-May 7, 2012
Current Weeks Ranked- N/A
Highest Ranking – No. 13, January 6-13, 2014 and February 9, 2015
Overall Record When Ranked – 10-8 
     When No. 13 – 1-3
     When No. 14 – 0-2
     When No. 15 – 9-3
Home Record When Ranked – 6-3
Road Record When Ranked – 4-4
Neutral Site Record When Ranked – 0-1
In 2015, when ranked:  5-1

2015 AVCA Weekly Ranking
Dec. 10- N/A
Jan. 12- N/A
Jan. 19- N/A
Jan. 26- No. 15
Feb. 2- No. 15
Feb. 9- No. 13
Feb. 16- RV
Feb. 23- RV
March 2- RV
March 9- RV
March 16- N/A
March 23- N/A
March 30- N/A
April 6- N/A
April 13- N/A
April 20- RV

At the MAC
The Crimson has played 41 matches under the roof of the Malkin Athletic Center over the past three-plus years, and boasts a 32-9 (.780) mark during that span. Harvard's home-court advantage includes a program-best nine-match home win streak that lasted more than a calendar year from February 18, 2012 to April 5, 2013. In its last match at home, Harvard came away with a victory over George Mason.

Scouting Sacred Heart
Sacred Heart is tied for sixth in EIVA action with a 3-8 mark, though the Pioneers are an even 12-12 on the season. Enzo Mackenzie ranks eighth in the country with 3.93 kills per set, while also posting a team-high .291 hitting percentage. Eduardo Zardo, meanwhile, ranks 11th nationally ­with 9.95 assists per set.

Chasing Records
Through 23 matches, multiple Harvard student-athletes are looking to ascend the Crimson record books:




Matt Jones '12
DJ White '15
Brian Stevenson '01 
Caleb Zimmick '15





Chris Gibbons '14
DJ White '15
Ed Panaku '00 
Branden Clemens '16


Solo Bocks



Ryan Estendorf '96
Brady Weissbourd '09
Caleb Zimmick '15


Block Assists



Ed Panaku '00
Caleb Zimmick '15
Matt Jones '12 
DJ White '15


Total Blocks



Ed Panaku '00
Caleb Zimmick '15





Rob Lothman '13
Abbas Hyderi '95-96
Marko Kostich '18

















Preseason Poll

Harvard was picked fourth in the EIVA Preseason Poll with 33 points, slotting in behind Penn State, Princeton, and George Mason.




Penn State
George Mason
Saint Francis
Sacred Heart

Votes (first place)

48 (7)
38 (1)

Fresh Faces
Volleyball Magazine named Harvard's freshman class the eighth-best in the country, with three of the freshmen appearing on its "Fab-50" list. Brad Gretsch,Jack Heavey, Marko Kostich, and Riley Moore joined the Crimson in July.

A Year Ago
Harvard finished 2014 with a 15-8 record, including an 11-3 mark in conference play. The Crimson earned a berth to the EIVA Tournament for the third consecutive year, but fell to Princeton, 3-1, in the semifinals. DJ White led the squad with 3.30 kills per set and a .312 hitting percentage, while Caleb Zimmick ranked sixth in the country in hitting percentage (.440) and led the Crimson with 1.11 blocks per set. Both White and Zimmick were recognized as honorable mention All-Americans by the AVCA. 

On The Sidelines
Head coach Brian Baise returns for his seventh season at the helm of the Harvard men's volleyball program. Baise owns an 89-72 record on the sidelines, including a 64-33 mark over the past three-plus seasons. The Crimson has been ranked in each season since 2012, with 12 student-athletes earning all-EIVA recognition.

Jeffrey Aucoin and Ahmed Ibrahim returned as assistant coaches for their second and fourth seasons, respectively. 

What's Next?
Harvard travels to Penn State for the first round of the EIVA Playoffs on April 29. The Crimson's first round opponent will be determined by the final weekend's results.