Co-captain outside hitter Matt Jones, shown here in earlier action, led the Crimson with 32 points and 23 kills in a victory over Cal-Baptist last night. Harvard (5-0) is off to it’s best start since 1993, and begins Conference play, at home, against George Mason on Friday
The Harvard men’s volleyball team cruised to its second straight shutout win on Saturday, defeating Springfield, 3-0, in its home opener Saturday night at the Malkin Athletic Center.
Leading for most of the contest, the Crimson (3-0) withstood a late charge by the Pride (2-4) in the first set and never looked back, handily earning the victory over a Springfield squad that had recently shut out Endicott.
After falling behind 24-14, the Pride went on an 8-0 run to pull within two. But Harvard co-captain Matt Jones stepped up and put Springfield away, spiking the ball past the Pride defense to clinch the opening set.
“Matt Jones did a fantastic job tonight,” Harvard coach Brain Baise said. “We got the ball to him, and he finished the game for us. From there, we got more momentum and we kept it up.”
Jones led the team in kills with 16 on the night, hitting at a .682 clip en route to the Crimson’s third straight win to start to the season.
With a good mix of upper and underclassmen, the team has been clicking so far, riding a strong all-around performance while snapping Springfield’s two-game winning streak.
“We’ve all meshed together and found our roles,” said freshman Caleb Zimmick, who led the team with five blocks. “It’s all been working. Everybody’s opening up opportunities for everyone else and working well as a team.”
In the opening set, Harvard and Springfield played it close until the Crimson was able to pull ahead, grabbing a 12-6 lead after five straight points. Harvard kept the steady edge, riding a 6-0 streak to reach set point before the Pride’s comeback attempt.
When Springfield finally clipped the lead to two, Baise called a timeout so that the Crimson could regroup.
“We were making mistakes,” Baise said. “They kept their serves in, [and] we just had a terrible string of errors.”
But Harvard was able to come back from the timeout and immediately send it to the second set.
“When the timeout was called, we just took a second [and] took a breather,” Zimmick said. “We had to be confidant knowing we had the victory at hand.”
The second set was a little closer throughout, with the Crimson holding on to a slim lead for most of the frame. The Pride was able to get within one point at 13-12, led by John Coen’s team-leading eight kills.
Harvard then pulled ahead with a 6-1 run, running the score to 19-13 before the visitors utilized a pair of consecutive aces to claw within to within two, 19-17.
But the Crimson was able to shut the door. Playing off its strong defensive strategy, Harvard ripped off 6-2 run to seal the second set.