Spikers Set for Ivy Tourney at IAB; Crimson Favored to Take First Title
The Ivy League Championships have become a source of frustration for the Harvard men's volleyball team.
In their three-year history, the spikers have captured virtually every title in the New England area, but their Ivy tournament appearances have yielded only a pair of second-place finishes.
At the root of the problem is Princeton, which has won two consecutive Ivy titles by beating Harvard in the finals of the 1981 and 1982 tourneys.
But this year's Crimson squad has every reason to expect to end the Tiger jinx when the 1983 championships open today at the IAB. Harvard brings a startling 32-2 season mark into the tournament, and among those 32 wins is a 3-0 drubbing of the Tigers in the NCAA Regionals two weeks ago.
Still, the spikers realize this is no time for complacency. "We have a healthy respect for [Princeton]," says team Captain Brad Martin. "And we remember how it felt to lose."
Martin's concern seems justified, considering that Princeton's 6-ft. 8-in middle blocker Bryan Wilson, who missed the regionals because of an injury, will return to the line-up this weekend. And another Tiger regionals absentee. Coach Glen Nelson, has recovered from a van accident and will be at courtside.
A two-week layoff from competition could also work to the Crimson's disadvantage, but, Martin says. "The time off has been very good. Without having to travel and play heavy games, we're the healthiest we've been all year."
Martin and his teammates obviously relish the thought of meeting the Tigers in the finals, but each squad must beat three other Ivy foes before such a match could materialize.
Harvard will face Cornell, Yale and Brown, while Princeton squares off against Dartmouth, Columbia and Penn.
The Crimson has already defeated Yale twice this season, routing the Elis, 3-0, each time. The spikers have also met and beaten Brown on a previous occasion, taking a 2-0 decision over the Bruins in the New England Open.