Men's Volleyball Tops Sacred Heart For 10th Consecutive Home Win
The Harvard men’s volleyball team hosted Sacred Heart Wednesday night in its first conference game since mid-February in the Malkin Athletic Center and, despite a brief hiccup in the third set, managed to take care of business and secure the win.
The Crimson (11-4, 6-3 EIVA) won the first two matches, both by a score of 25-16, but fell short to the Pioneers (2-14, 1-8) in the third frame, 25-21. In the last set, the two teams exchanged points until Harvard was finally able to steal the decisive two-point margin for a 31-29 victory.
“We won a close one,” junior co-captain Nick Madden said. “That kind of feels good.”
The Crimson was not able to collect its fourth consecutive sweep at home, but with the 3-1 victory over the Pioneers, Harvard picked up its 10th consecutive win in its own gym.
It was 4-4 in the first frame when the home squad took the lead and didn’t relinquish it the rest of the set. The Crimson held a .417 kill percentage and 13 kills in the frame, while Sacred Heart collected its lowest of the night at eight.
“We played real sharp in the first two [sets],” head coach Brian Baise said.
Madden logged a game-high 16 kills, and freshman outside hitter Brendan Clemens was second with 13 to help bring their team to a total of 52 for the night.
“I think we were pretty loose and relaxed going into the game,” Madden said. “That’s why we played really well.”
Harvard managed its largest lead of eight points four times throughout the second set, after breaking from a 3-3 tie at the start. The Pioneers called their first time-out to try to stop the run, but it proved unsuccessful, as the Crimson went on to take the set. Harvard had a .471 kill percentage compared to .389 for the night, while holding Sacred Heart to .169 for the match.
“I think we were serving really well,” Madden said. “We looked really in sync on offense, we were just really flowing well together.”
The Crimson collected 13 team blocks, with the highest amount coming from sophomore middle blocker Caleb Zimmick, who had eight. The Pioneers collected only two team blocks for the night.
“I think the biggest thing for us was our blocking, a lot weren’t going off of hands and out of bounds,” Madden said.
Things took a different turn in the third frame, as errors began to add up for Harvard.
“Mentally, we broke down a bit,” Baise said. “We talk about, when there’s an error, trying to ‘better that ball,’ but we kept compounding error on error.”
The Crimson called its first time-out of the night with the score 7-3, but a kill from the Pioneers kept their streak going until the 25-21 victory. Sacred Heart built a six-point lead three times in the frame and took the victory off an error by Clemens.