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Harvard Holds Off Highlanders, 3-2; NJIT’s Namiotko Notches Career-Best 20 Kills

Harvard Holds Off Highlanders, 3-2; NJIT’s Namiotko Notches Career-Best 20 Kills

Story Courtesy of NJIT

NEWARK, N.J. - NJIT duo Piotr Namiotko and Alvaro Gimeno combined for 38 kills but it wasn’t enough, as Harvard rallied back down 2-1 to hold off the Highlanders and record its second straight win of the weekend, 3-2, Saturday afternoon in EIVA men’s volleyball action at the Wellness and Events Center.

Harvard (2-2 EIVA, 3-8 overall) won the first set in extra points, 29-27. The Highlanders won the next two stanzas, 25-19 and 25-20, to go up 2-1. The Crimson recorded a comfortable win in the fourth set, 25-13, and won the fifth and deciding set, 15-8, to earn the 3-2 victory.

Senior Marko Kostich recorded a career-high 13 kills while Brad Gretsch combined for a team-leading 19. Kostich led the team with a .684 hitting percentage and finished second on the Crimson's line up with 24 assists, behind Ctvrtlik who recorded a career-high 32 assists.

Three Crimson— Ctvrtlik (32 assists, 13 digs), Gretsch (19 kills, 10 digs) and Kostich (13 kills, 24 assists) recorded double-doubles in the win.

NJIT’s (1-2 EIVA, 3-9) Namiotko notched a career-best 20 kills, including five digs and two block assists. Gimeno followed with 18 kills, five digs, match-high three service aces and two block assists for the Highlanders.

Setter Ricardo Whitaker piled up 44 assists and six digs while libero Shannon Heckman led the match with 15 digs.

The first frame, which saw 17 ties and four lead changes, NJIT rallied off three straight points, knotting the set at 23-all. Both teams traded the next eight points and Harvard sealed a 29-27 win on a pair of kills from Gretsch.

NJIT jumped out to a 13-10 lead in the second set and continued its momentum, holding a 22-14 lead on a kill by Kevin Myren. The Crimson pulled within five, 23-18, but the Highlanders sealed the set on a kill by Namiotko for a 25-19 win.

The home team scored the first three points of the third frame, led by Gimeno with two kills. The set remained close through the mid-teens with the Highlanders scoring three straight points, 21-18, resulting in a Harvard timeout. NJIT used a 4-2 spurt to close out the frame with a 25-20 win.

Harvard took control early in the fourth frame, 8-4, and extended its lead to 14-8, resulting in the Highlanders second timeout of the set. The Crimson took a 21-10 lead and evened the match at 2-2 with a 25-13 win.

In the fifth and deciding set, Harvard came out on fire, taking a 6-2 advantage and increased its lead to 12-7, midway through the set. The Crimson closed out the match with a short 3-1 run securing a 15-8 victory.

NJIT will return to action on Friday, March 2 when the Highlanders host Penn State at 7pm. The match will be streamed live on ESPN3.