Hot Crimson Sweeps Wildcats

Extending its winning streak to three games, the Harvard men’s volleyball team (7-5, 4-2 EIVA) tamed Johnson and Wales last night at the Malkin Athletic Center, breezing to a 3-0 sweep. The Crimson’s victory in the non-conference game against the Wildcats (7-12) marks Johnson and Wales’ fourth straight 3-0 loss.

“It wasn’t really stiff competition, but it was important that we try out rotations and try to play at an intense level,” sophomore setter Gil Weintraub said. “I don’t think we were able to do it the entire time, but at points subs came in and stepped up and really showed us their potential.”

Harvard continued to test new rotations, as the Crimson continues its attempt to fill the outside hitter position left vacant after senior Jordan Weitzen was sidelined by a concussion. Currently, junior Jeff Nathan and freshman Daniel Medina have been substituting for Weitzen, and have stepped into the role rather smoothly. Last night, Nathan nailed eight kills, and Medina secured a hitting percentage of .200.

Harvard will soon decide which one of the players will take on the position in a more permanent capacity.

“This Friday’s game [against St. Ambrose] will probably be the deciding factor,” Weintraub said. “It’s going to be a big game.”

Although the Crimson was still tweaking its lineup, Harvard’s level of play seemed unaffected. Harvard overwhelmed the Wildcats in the first frame, powering through to a 30-16 win. Although Johnson and Wales managed to tie it up at 12, Harvard pulled ahead to complete a 20-6 run to seal the game. The Crimson outhit the Wildcats .500-.036 and committed only four errors.

Although Harvard fell behind early in game two, it quickly regained control of the match, battling back on a 5-0 run to break a 12-12 tie. Junior captain Brady Weissbourd slammed down a kill in the middle of the frame to push the Crimson ahead, 20-16. Entering the match, Weissbourd was ranked second in the EIVA and led the team in kills per game with an average of .489. Weissbourd registered nine kills last night for a .583 hitting percentage.

Sophomore Erik Kuld notched a kill to maintain Harvard’s lead at 22-17. Kuld’s .412 attacking percentage coming into the game puts him at sixth in the EIVA. Kuld continued to lead the Crimson in kills last night, as he killed 12.

In the third frame, Harvard captured the lead early and never looked back. At one point, the Crimson reached a lead of 12 points, leaving the Wildcats behind, 27-15. Harvard also forced 12 attacking errors from Johnson and Wales, while the Crimson committed only 5 errors of its own.

“I think it was a solid game because everybody got into it,” freshman Shaun Mansour said. “It was a good time to practice skills.”

Senior libero Brian Rapp tallied 11 digs, while Weintraub completed 40 assists, racked up three service aces and completed four kills. Also, senior Jamie Crooks slammed down 10 kills, while Nathan put down eight of his own.

Harvard will challenge non-conference foe St. Ambrose this Friday at home before it faces league rival Springfield on Saturday.

“Springfield’s going to be a tough game playing them at their home,” Weintraub said. “But we owe them one.”

—Staff writer Courtney D. Skinner can be reached at cskinner@fas.harvard.edu.

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