Fighting to get back in the playoff race, the Harvard men’s volleyball team was swept, 3-0, by both NJIT and NYU in two road matches this weekend.
Reigning Hay Division Player of the Week Brady Weissbourd registered 21 kills in the two matches, but the Crimson offense struggled as a whole, hitting .229 against NJIT and .233 against NYU.
“Unfortunately, we have dug ourselves a very, very, very deep hole,” co-captain Dave Fitz said. “We want to finish with a winning record.”
Harvard (7-5, 3-5 Hay) hopes to rebound on Saturday when it takes on Sacred Heart at the Malkin Athletic Center.
NYU 3, HARVARD 0
Harvard fell to NYU in a 3-0 (30-19, 30-21, 30-28) loss Saturday at the Coles Sports Center in New York, N.Y.
The Violets’ Macnair Sillick slammed down 16 kills and Devin Zolnowski contributed 13 overall, leading an NYU attack that toppled Harvard, 30-19, in game one.
The Violets (11-11, 4-2) tallied a hitting percentage of .346 in the first frame, nearly doubling the Crimson’s .160.
Although none of the Crimson men reached double-digits in kills, senior Andy Nelson led the way with nine kills, followed by Weissbourd’s and junior Jamie Crooks’ eight. Crooks also racked up six digs, Harvard’s highest of the match.
But the Crimson’s 10 attack errors in the second game spoiled its chances of victory, as it hit .000 compared to NYU’s .276 hitting percentage.
As a result of its numerous errors as well as a weaker attack, Harvard fell, 30-21, to the Violets.
In the third game, the Crimson rallied to turn the match around, putting forth a solid offensive effort to notch a .471 hitting percentage. Turning out 21 kills on 34 attempts and cutting its errors in half, only committing five in the final game, the Crimson proved to be a more formidable presence.
However, the Violets stayed strong with a solid hitting percentage of .455 and narrowly took the game, 30-28, to sweep the match, 3-0.
NJIT 3, HARVARD 0
The Crimson struggled to keep up against NJIT (11-4, 6-1), yielding to the Highlanders, 3-0 (30-20, 30-24, 30-28), at the Fleisher Center in Newark, N.J., last Friday.
“NJIT was a better team this match than we’ve seen them all season,” Fitz said. “We just couldn’t hang with them, and we let them go on four-point run after four-point run.
“With a team that wasn’t making very many errors, as they weren’t, you can’t do much,” he added. “They jumped on those four-point leads and took the match.”
In the first game, the Highlanders took an early 4-1 lead and remained in control for the rest of the frame. After NJIT pulled ahead to a four-point lead, 20-16, the Highlanders set off on a 10-4 run, seizing a 30-20 victory over the Crimson.
“Our passing broke down for a few points and kind of took us out,” Fitz said. “We had to free-bounce the ball over, and we didn’t get quality swings.”
Harvard picked up the intensity in the second game, sliding ahead with a 6-5 lead and keeping the score close throughout the frame. Sparked by a Nelson kill, the Crimson increased its lead to 10-7, but a 4-1 Highlander run tied it up again.
Battling back and forth for a decisive lead, Harvard and NJIT tied the score 11 times before the Highlanders pulled away to take the game, 30-24.
Although the Crimson hit .406 in the third game and erred only once on 32 swings, while NJIT notched a lower hitting percentage of .333, the Highlanders still came out on top, narrowly defeating Harvard, 30-28.
“Everything they hit seemed to go down,” Fitz said.
“We could play with them when we wanted to,” he added, “but we couldn’t keep up with them the whole game.”
—Staff writer Courtney D. Skinner can be reached at email@example.com.