Princeton Spears Slipping Spikers, 3-0
Schossberger Injured in Straight-Set Loss
PRINCETON, N.J.--Losing a game is bad, but losing a game and losing one of your best players is even worse.
The Harvard women's volleyball team dropped a three-game decision to a heavily favored Princeton team here at Dillon Gymnasium, 15-10, 15-5, 15-6, in front of 30 spectators, but that's only part of the bad news.
Co-Captain Manda Schossberger, the team's best hitter, suffered an injury to her thumb in the second set that may force her to miss some games.
Schossberger. who went into the game with ligament damage in her right thumb, hurt her left thumb while trying to block a spike by a Princeton player.
"Now there's ligament damage in my left thumb as well as my right," Schossberger said yesterday. "The swelling's gone down, and I'll have to see how it feels by the end of the week."
Although the junior said she may have to miss Harvard's next game, she will play in the Ivy League championships in November, no matter how bad her thumbs are, she said.
"We really need her from the outside, but it's going to affect the middle hitters, too," sophomore Carolyn Burger said. "She's versatile because she hits from the middle and the outside."
The Tigers (16-8 overall, 4-0 Ivy League) started out strong Saturday against the Crimson (5-8, 4-2) in the opening game, jumping out to a 12-3 lead.
Harvard, helped by poor Princeton serves, started to come back with a combination of Schossberger spikes and dinks by Burger, and narrowed the margin to 12-8.
The Tigers regained service and got another point on a well-placed spike, but a pair of kills by Harvard Captain Maia Forman and Schossberger brought the game to 13-10.
Despite the Crimson's comeback, Princeton closed out the set, 15-10, with a pair of blocks.
The tough loss in the first set seemed to break the Crimson's rhythm in the next game. Harvard suffered from miscommunication and poor setting, and the Tigers took advantage.
"The whole problem was that we didn't have any passing," Burger said. "You need good passes in order to get good sets, and we weren't getting them. And our blocks were forming late so their hits were coming harder."
Princeton quickly rallied to a 13-0 advantage before the Crimson regained its composure. But by then it was too late.
With Forman serving, Harvard made a quick run to narrow the score to 13-5, but the Tigers regained the serve and tallied twice to get a 2-0 advantage in games.
With the injury to Schossberger, the team's best hitter, Princeton's height advantage became an even more important factor.
"[Manda's] at least 50 percent of their team in terms of hitting," Tiger Coach Glenn Nelson said. "If they can't stay with us at the net, we'll win."
Harvard Coach Wayne Lem had to rely more on Burger and freshman Peri Wallace to pick up the hitting slack against a Princeton front line which featured several six-foot tall players.
"We were playing against a really good team, which hit well and blocked well," Schossberger said. "We haven't really played a team that blocked as well and I think that intimidated many of our players."
The Tigers lept out to a 3-0 lead before Forman regained the serve with a spike and put the Crimson on the board with a serve.
Princeton regained service on a block of Burger, and with a combination of blocks and aces extended its lead, 7-1.
The teams traded points until the score was 10-4. Then the Tigers scored four of the next six points to end the match.
THE NOTEBOOK: The Crimson hosts Brown Saturday at 3 p.m.