Harvard loses to No. 15 UC Irvine in program’s first match since 2020

Photo courtesy of Harvard athletics

Harvard after two long years of waiting finally returned to the court for a match.

The only problem was it had to go up against Hilir Henno.

The freshman outside attacker from France finished with both a match-high three aces and 14 kills on a .346 attack percentage as No. 15 UC Irvine swept Harvard 25-19, 25-22, 25-21 on Wednesday in Irvine, California.


This was the first match for Harvard since March 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Both Harvard and Princeton as Ivy League schools were the first two NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball teams to cancel their 2020 seasons at the start of the pandemic and then both opted out of the 2021 season.

Henno coming off a 22 kill performance in the Anteaters’ last match was one of two UC Irvine players with at least five kills against Harvard. Outside attacker Francesco Sani added 10 kills on a .421 attack percentage.

UC Irvine (2-1, 0-0 Big West) in the non-conference victory out-hit Harvard .324 to .286, including hitting a team-best .412 in the opening game.

Harvard (0-1, 0-0 EIVA) finished the match with 24 service errors – nine more errors than UC Irvine.

Middle attacker Ethan Smith led Harvard with nine kills on a .615 attack percentage. Opposite Kade McGovern also had eight kills while hitting .583 against UC Irvine.