CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – In its annual battle with cross-town rival Harvard University, the host Crimson defeated nationally-ranked No. 13 MIT, 25-23, 25-17, 25-19, in a non-conference men's volleyball match on Tuesday night. Senior Matt Hohenberger (St. Louis, Mo.) produced a team-high 10 kills to go along with four digs for the Engineers (11-10).
Junior Ken Siebert (St. Louis, Mo.) tallied seven kills, four digs, and two aces while classmate Paul Syta (Fairport, N.Y.) posted 24 assists and five kills. Sophomore Andrew Busse (Mount Prospect, Ill.) bolstered MIT's attack with five kills as senior Patrick Vatterott (St. Louis, Mo.) rounded out the front row with two blocks. Freshman Brendan Chang (Laytonsville, Md.) led the way with seven digs followed by five from sophomore Chris Omahan (Mount Vernon, Ohio).
The Engineers built a 5-1 lead in the opening set and maintained a small cushion until back-to-back errors helped Harvard tie the score at 21. Both teams traded points before a pair of hitting miscues propelled the Crimson to the win.
Harvard jumped out to a 7-2 advantage in the second set but MIT responded with a 10-4 run as a Siebert kill and ace put the visitors in front, 12-11. After alternating serves, a pair of kills gave the Crimson a 16-14 edge. The Engineers cut their deficit in half courtesy of a service error but this was as close as it would get as Harvard closed out the frame with a 9-2 run.
The early stages of the final frame were closely played as a kill by Busse evened the score at eight. The Crimson recorded six of the next seven points resulting in an MIT timeout. The Engineers battled back as Hohenberger's kill and ace narrowed the gap to three (17-14). Harvard countered with a 6-2 spurt which prompted MIT to use its final timeout of the set. Coming out of the break, Vatterott and freshman Tavish Smith (Oceanside, Calif.) registered kills to make the score 23-18. A service error resulted in match point; however, a hitting miscue by the Crimson kept the Engineers' alive. Harvard then denied MIT a chance at generating a late rally by clinching the match on its next attempt.
MIT continues its road trip this weekend at the March Mania Tournament hosted by Endicott College. The Engineers will take on Johnson & Wales University and Emmanuel College on Saturday, March 9 before squaring off with Sage College and No. 14 Rivier University the next day.