Former Vikings standout excelling for Crimson’s men’s volleyball teamAs a member of the boys’ basketball and volleyball teams at La Jolla High School, Matt Jones became accustomed to postseason play. In fact, his teams won three CIF San Diego Section championships in his time at the school.
When he moved on to Harvard’s men’s volleyball team, though, he was joining a squad that had experienced a recent playoff drought.
The Crimson’s fortunes turned this spring, however, and buoyed by Jones’ surprising play as a freshman, they earned their first playoff appearance in four seasons.
Jones helped Harvard to an 11-7 overall record and a 6-2 Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association record that was good enough to make the Crimson co-champions of the association’s Hay Division.
They lost their first-round playoff match to George Mason on April 22, but the postseason experience was a valuable one.
“We had a new coach (Brian Baise) this year, and I think he’s a good coach who’s pushing the program in the right direction,” said Jones, a 2008 La Jolla High graduate. “The bar has definitely been raised.”
Jones, an outside hitter, was second on the team this season with an average of 3.07 kills per game, and registered a .213 hitting percentage. He started every match for the Crimson this season.
Jones opened the season at opposite-side hitter, but when the Crimson lost a player for the year, he was able to move back to his natural position.
“Because we had a small team, there was definitely an indication that there was going to be an opportunity for some playing time,” Jones said. “It didn’t come as a complete surprise, but it was definitely nice that I was able to earn that spot and get a lot of playing time.”
Jones made his transition to college volleyball easier by arriving on campus early and working out diligently, both on his conditioning and in captains’ practices.
“The first thing I noticed was his attitude and approach; he is extremely hard working,” Baise told The Harvard Crimson. “It was clear how much he was looking forward to play. For a freshman, he plays an integral part on the team both on and off the court.”