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Harvard Set to Face George Mason at EIVA Championships

Harvard Set to Face George Mason at EIVA Championships

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard men's volleyball earned the second-seed in the EIVA Championships, and will face third-seeded George Mason in the conference semifinals on Wednesday, April  29 at Penn State's Recreation Hall. First serve is scheduled for 5 p.m. and can be seen live and for free

Last Time Out
On a day honoring senior captains DJ White and Caleb Zimmick for four years of dedication, Harvard took down Sacred Heart, 3-2, to claim the second seed at the EIVA Championships. The win came by set scores of 25-20, 20-25, 25-22, 20-25 and 15-8.

Branden Clemens posted a season-high 18 kills to lead the Harvard attack, while Casey White and DJ White contributed 16 kills and 15 kills, respectively. Marko Kostich dished a career-high 53 assists, helping Harvard to a .318 hitting percentage in the match.

Defensively, Casey White turned in a match-high 12 digs to record his second double-double of the season, and Alec Schlossman recorded a career-best 11 digs. At the net, Clemens, Brad Gretsch and Riley Moore each blocked five attacks, while Kostich and Casey White had two apiece.

Scouting George Mason
George Mason finished conference play at 7-5, and is 14-12 overall entering its third matchup of the year with the Crimson. Harvard took the first two matches, 3-1, from the Patriots to secure the tiebreaker for the second seed. Paco Velez paces the EIVA with 0.57 aces per set, and Jack Wilson leads the Patriots with 3.00 kills and 3.76 points per set.

Branden Clemens, DJ White and Caleb Zimmick were named to the All-EIVA first team after their prolific seasons led Harvard to a second-place finish in regular season play. Harvard was the only program to land three players on the first team. With the nod, White became the first in school-history to earn four first team selections, while Zimmick earned his second-straight first team honor. Clemens was recognized as All-EIVA for the first time.

Around the EIVA

Harvard (13-11, 7-5 EIVA) claimed the second seed at the EIVA Championships, and will face George Mason (14-12, 7-5 EIVA) in the semifinals. Penn State (18-9, 12-0 EIVA) continued its unbeaten streak through conference play, and will take on Princeton (11-12, 6-6 EIVA) in the opposite semifinal matchup. The winners of the two matches will play for a berth in the NCAA Tournament on Friday, May 1.

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.

Playing the Percentages
Harvard led the EIVA in both hitting percentage (.278) and opposing hitting percentage (.231). Guided by a league-leading 2.46 blocks per set, the Crimson forced its opponents into 535 attacking errors this season.

Can You Dig It?
Through 24 matches Harvard ranks seventh in the country in digs per set (9.64). Casey White (10th, 2.31), DJ White (32nd, 1.97), and Branden Clemens (46th, 1.76) 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 (.278). The Crimson has hit .300 or better 12 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 3.22 and 3.09 kills per set, respectively, ranking 26th and 35th 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 24 matches, Harvard has only played a fifth set twice, doing so against Penn State April 10 and Sacred Heart April 25. 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 42 matches under the roof of the Malkin Athletic Center over the past three-plus years, and boasts a 33-9 (.786) 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 Sacred Heart.

Chasing Records
Through 24 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
Casey White '17


Solo Bocks



Ryan Estendorf '96
Brady Weissbourd '09
Caleb Zimmick '15
Joe Herger '00 
Branden Clemens


Block Assists



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


Total Blocks



Ed Panaku '00
Caleb Zimmick '15
Ryan Westendorf '96 
DJ White '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 (Pa.)


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 a 90-72 record on the sidelines, including a 65-33 mark over the past three-plus seasons. The Crimson has been ranked in each season since 2012, with 15 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?
With a victory over George Mason, Harvard will face the winner of No. 1 Penn State and No. 4 Princeton in the EIVA Championship match on May 1 at 7 p.m.