Springfield College Sweeps M. Spikers

Some days ya got it, some days ya don't.

The Springfield College men's volleyball team avenged a thrashing Harvard handed them February at the Malkin Athletic Center by handing the Crimson a stinging straight-set defeat in Springfield Wednesday night.

The Crimson (2-5 overall) was marooned by the Maroons, 15-13, 15-13, and 15-10.

"Our shots just didn't go," sophomore Martin Valasek said.

Whereas the Crimson played solidly in every respect and were exceptional hitting and blocking against Springfield last month, its game fell a notch Wednesday as inconsistent outside and middle play plagued the team all night.

"At points we played well, but sometimes we were just a big sieve," said Valasek about the Crimson defense.

"Our blocking was inconsistent," added middle hitter/blocker John Nickerson.

Each game opened in nearly identical fashion, with the Crimson pulling out to quick leads. The Maroons would rally to within a point or two before finally defeating Harvard. In both the first and second sets, the match was tied 13-13.

"We just couldn't put them away," sophomore Bruce Jones said.

As if the Crimson didn't have enough problems on its own, the officiating was, at best, inconsistent and, at worst, the epitome of home-court bias. The Crimson received two red cards in the course of the game. A red card means a point for the other team if they are serving and a loss of possession if the offending team has the ball.

The most egregious example of the intransigent and inflexible refereeing came in the second set. With the score tied, 6-6, and Harvard serving, Springfield's back row setter hit the ball over the net as he stood inches from the net. Harvard promptly killed the weak hit but was called for brushing the net. The referee apparently failed to realize that a backrow player hit the ball from inside the 10-foot line.

Harvard protested and, after several conferences, the call was reversed. While the Crimson was awarded the point, it was also given a red card for differing with too much ardor.

While the Crimson felt the officiating was poor, "it was no excuse for the performance we turned in," Nickerson said.