The Harvard men's volleyball team defeated defending EIVA (Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association) champion Springfield College in four sets, 11-15, 15-7, 15-11 and 15-8 to log its first win of the season yesterday afternoon at the Malkin Athletic Center.
The Crimson (1-2) prevailed over a taller, hard-hitting Springfield squad with solid passing, strong setting and exceptional blocking.
"It's great to finally win," Coach Ihsan Gurdal said.
After a disastrous match at Dartmouth last weekend, the win was exactly what the Crimson needed.
Harvard--playing a 5-1 (five hitters and a designated setter) offense--dropped a close first set in which both outside hitter Dave Dickman and Gurdal picked up yellow (warning) cards for protesting calls.
The warning cards fired up the Crimson, as it prevailed easily in the second set, 15-7.
The third set was Harvard's biggest hurdle. After breaking out to a 6-2 lead, the game went back and forth until Harvard grabbed a 12-9 lead on the hitting of sophomore Marty Valasek and the strong play of middle hitter/blockers John Nickerson and Brian Ehrlich.
Fighting to stay in the match, the Maroons scratched to bring the tally back to 12-11. There was some controversy on Harvard's winning point when the line judge--a Harvard player--first called a Crimson block out but then reversed his decision.
Harvard broke out on top, 7-1, in the fourth set on the hitting of Henry Chang and Valasek. Chang, who was stuffed several times in the third set, started hitting effective cross-court winners.
Taking advantage of a poor Maroon defense, Harvard extended its lead to 14-5 but had difficulty putting the game away. As Springfield fought back to 14-8, Gurdal must have had haunting visions of the MIT match, when the Crimson was a point away from winning several games but couldn't stop the Engineers. The ball changed hands six times before the Crimson earned its first victory.
"We played fairly well, but the defense won the game," Chang said.