The Harvard women's volleyball team suffered a straight-game loss to host Providence on Tuesday.
The Crimson's loss might seem demoralizing for a team that will begin Ivy League play this weekend, but don't let the 15-12, 15-8, 16-14 defeat fool you. It was much better than three and out.
Unlike the team's previous match against the Friars, in which Harvard was "drained," in the words of freshman setter Kate Nash, after playing a three-hour grudge match with B.C., the Crimson hung tough for the entire match and almost broke through in the final game.
Harvard had quadruple match point in the third game, but still couldn't pull it out. Providence rallied for seven consecutive points, turning a 14-9 Harvard advantage into a 16-14 final outcome.
"We had the 14-9 lead and we really should have won that game," sophomore hitter Elissa Hart said. "That would have opened up the match for us.... In the end, they overpowered us offensively."
"We took it for granted that we were going to win that game," senior co-captain Jennifer Jose said. "We certainly learned something from that game. We have learn how to close out a game mentally."
In the first game, the Crimson got down early but did not allow itself to get knocked out. Instead, the team picked up the pace and roared back in the second half of the game. But it wasn't quite enough; the Friars took the game 15-12.
The second game reflected the disappointment the team felt after losing the first game. Providence jumped out to an early six-point lead and never really looked back. The Crimson came back a bit, but then watched the Friars pull away to a 15-8 advantage.
"We played really well but the results don't reflect it," Hart said. "We were able to rally with them; they didn't dominate us."
"We did a good job holding our own," Jose said. "They are a huge, tough, scrappy team. We didn't give them the match."
The Crimson and Friars first met on October 8-9 at the Boston College Tournament. Like Tuesday's match, the Harvard fell to Providence in three straight games. Nonetheless, it was better this time.
"The first time we played them we had just had three tough games against B.C. and we were really drained and didn't play well," freshman Kate Nash said. "After that game we had this image of them as a huge team. But midway through the first game [on Tuesday] we were really playing with them."
Harvard is anxiously awaiting the start of the Ivy League season. The Crimson travels to Penn and Princeton on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
"Providence made us more determined to go out and fight for a win [this weekend]," Jose said."
"One of my teammates said, "I'm glad we got [the Providence game] out of our system," Nash said.