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Men's Volleyball Sweeps Pair of Games Against Charleston

Rise Up
Sophomore Brad Gretsch (3) and captain Braden Clemens (11) were two of three Crimson athletes who posted at least seven kills and a.500 hit percentage on Saturday.

A week after a disheartening loss to Sacred Heart, the Harvard men’s volleyball team looked to regroup with a pair of home matches against cellar-dwelling Charleston (4-21, 0-12 EIVA).

Two days later, consider the mission accomplished. In a pair of lopsided wins, the Crimson (11-8, 7-3 EIVA) moved beyond memories of recent defeat and slipped into second place in the EIVA.

“These wins were huge for us,” sophomore outside hitter Brad Gretsch said. “This was a big confidence-booster coming off our loss last week to Sacred Heart.”

HARVARD 3, CHARLESTON 0

The Golden Eagles haven’t had much to celebrate in 2016.

Heading into this weekend’s play, Charleston boasted four wins overall, none in the conference, and a bus full of pent-up energy.

On Saturday some of that excitement found release in the third set, when a service error by Gretsch trimmed Harvard’s lead to 8-6 and elicited an extended scream from the Golden Eagles’ Conner Brandland.

But the celebration turned out to be empty noise, as the Crimson won five of the next eight points and closed out the clean sweep.

“We scouted this time pretty deeply,” sophomore setter Marko Kostich said. “We put in a lot of work to make sure we were in a position to play against their athletic players.”

Most of the match was not nearly as tense, with Harvard taking the first two sets by double-digit margins. Gretsch topped Harvard with 11 kills, Kostich racked up 30 assists—more than double the next highest player—and the team hit .484 overall.

The efficient performance included a first frame in which the Crimson won eight of the first 10 points. Harvard eventually won the set, 25-12, thanks to a .706 kill efficiency.

The only time that Charleston led was in the third set—at 4-3 and 5-4. But a Gretsch service run gave the Crimson breathing room and ultimately facilitated a 25-19 victory.

Three Harvard players—Gretsch, junior outside Casey White, and captain Branden Clemens—posted at least seven kills and a .500 hitting efficiency. No Golden Eagle achieved this feat.

“We polished up our fundamentals, so I think we’re feeling a lot better,” Kostich said. “It’s going to be a battle regardless. I’m looking forward to it because I know we’ve been working hard.”

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