The Harvard men's volleyball team finished fifth in the Ivy League Tournament at the University of Pennsylvania last Saturday. Despite beating Dartmouth, the Crimson was eliminated, as it fell to Princeton and Brown in the preliminary round.
To open the tournament, Harvard dropped a three-set match to eventual champion Princeton, 13-15, 15-11 and 10-15. The Tigers' second set defeat was its only loss in the tournament.
The Crimson's spirit was high despite the loss. Princeton was clearly the strongest team in the tourney, and Harvard believed it had played well against the Tigers.
The Crimson, however, needed to get past Dartmouth and Brown to advance in the tournament.
Harvard dispatched the Big Green quickly and mercifully, 15-2 and 15-6. And in the next match, Princeton trounced the Bruins, as the Crimson looked on.
Harvard stepped onto the court somewhat cold, while Brown was pumped, still smarting from the Princeton match.
The Bruins shocked the Crimson 15-9, in the first game. Both teams battled to a 6-6 tie in the second game before Harvard called a time-out.
"It was pretty clear that our whole season depended on the next nine points," outside hitter Martin Valasek said.
Harvard ran off nine straight points to take the second set.
But the third set wasn't pretty. The players' grandchildren will not hear about this set.
"We came out flat," junior Dave Stonehill said.
Brown flattened the Crimson, 15-1. The loss eliminated the Crimson from the tournament.
The end was disappointing for Harvard. It felt that it was prepared well for this tournament, having fought back from several disastrous defeats earlier in the season.
"When we needed the consistency, it wasn't there," Valasek said.
The defeat to the Tigers was on the squad's mind.
"Maybe we shouldn't have held anything in reserve against Princeton," Valasek added.