Twenty-eight was the number of the night as Harvard men’s volleyball team hitters junior Nick Madden and freshman Branden Clemens combined for that many kills in a victory over Rivier College, 3-1, at the Malkin Athletic Center on Tuesday. The Raiders (2-3) were held to 28 kills as a team.
Rivier pushed the Crimson (5-2, 1-1 EIVA) to four sets, taking the second set, 18-25.
Harvard has not had a three set sweep since blanking Saint Francis on Jan. 25, four games ago.
“We had three weekends in a row that were away, so that was hard,” Crimson coach Brian Baise said. “We were a little tired, but we love playing at home. Hopefully we’ll get better each time.”
Clemens and Madden led the team offensively, while in a true team effort junior Michael Owen went for nine kills and sophomore Caleb Zimmick added eight.
For the second straight game, Clemens registered 27 total attacks but tallied six more errors that his last attempt, with eight on the night.
“It was really cool to play at home,” Clemens said. “It’s crazy that I’m here. I’m so excited to be starting and the team was really excited about it. It was a good feeling.”
The first set opened with the teams answering each other’s scores until Harvard pulled away, 8-5, with a service error off Raiders’ middle hitter Aaron Alamario and attack errors from junior middle hitter Terence Matall as well as freshman outside hitter Chris Markuson.
While Rivier climbed within two, the Crimson went on a 7-1 run to widen the lead, 18-10.
Assisted by several more attack errors, Clemens, Zimmick, and Madden pitched in kills to close out the set in Harvard’s favor, 25-15.
While the first set saw the Crimson hold a firm lead, the Raiders climbed atop in the second stanza. Three attack errors by Clemens and one by Owen allowed Rivier to lead Harvard, 8-3, early in the set.
The Crimson never fell into sync, dropping the set, 25-18. Their hitting percentage was stifled to .069.
“In the second, we weren’t passing well and we were hitting even worse,” Clemens said. “We kind of fell apart compared to what we were playing like in the first set. It was definitely just on our side of the court.”
Although Harvard held itself to six errors in the first and third sets and five in the final frame, 11 errors crept up on the Crimson in the second set.
The Raiders committed just one error in its victorious second stanza, yet creep up to 10 and then nine in successive frames.