The Crimson had a solid start in the first game, taking the lead early.
With sophomore setter Gil Weintraub serving, Harvard went on a six point run and came out ahead, 7-2. After the Crimson established the lead, it stayed on top throughout the first game, handily beating the Pride, 30-16, and notching a .409 hittingpercentage.
“We had moments of brilliance,” senior libero Brian Rapp said. “The first game was just very well-played.”
But the Crimson didn’t shine for long. Harvard was forced to play from behind throughout the second game, when the Pride took an early 8-2 lead. The Crimson showed signs of a comeback by responding with a 7-1 run. The scoring streak closed the gap and tied the game up at nine with a solid block by Weintraub, who also completed one solo block and two block assists against Springfield. But the Pride quickly found their rhythm again, setting off on a run that left Harvard in a nine-point hole. It was too much for the Crimson who couldn’t recover and succumbed to Springfield, 23-30.
“We came in the next game almost as if we played a different team,” Rapp said. “We let them run exactly what they wanted to run, and they ran it down our throats basically.”
In the third frame, Harvard looked like it had gotten back its rhythm, as it gained an early lead and stayed ahead of the Pride through the beginning of the match. But Springfield against pulled ahead, 16-15, and then left the Crimson far behind to close out the game, 30-21.
Just before the fourth game began, interim head coach Jose Barbosa pulled senior outside Jordan Weitzen, one of the go-to players on the team, for freshman Daniel Medina.
“He was not focused at all…so I just decided to change him,” Barbosa said. “When I don’t have those guys [with experience] playing good, we lose control of the games.”
Despite the substitution, Harvard still could not find an answer for the Pride who went on to win the final game 30-25.
“I think tha this team could be an amazing team, they have been training to be the best team of the league,” Barbosa said.
Although the Crimson suffered a loss, a few Harvard players still put together solid performances. Junior captain Brady Weissbourd, who was
recently named this week’s EIVA Hay Division Player of the Week, slammed down 16 kills and recorded a .400 hitting percentage. Senior Jamie Crooks has 10 kills and sophomore Erik Kuld recorded nine kills and four digs. Rapp led the team with 20 digs.
Weintraub has an especially effective outing. In addition to his three serving aces, the sophomore setter handed out 35 assists.
None of these efforts were a enough to match Springfield
The Crimson had anticipated that its first three conference matches, the last of which was against the Pride, would set the tone for the rest of Harvard’s season. The loss will force the Crimson to battle for the remainder of the season to secure an EIVA playoff bid.
“The last three years we’ve had to come from behind and every year play catch-up and it’s never worked out for us,” Rapp said. “This year we wanted to change things. Unfortunately, after today it doesn’t look as if that’s the case.”
Although Harvard will now likely have to fight an uphill battle, the Crimson remains hopeful about its prospects in future matches.
“I wish we would’ve won, but even though it didn’t happen, I think we’re still in it,” Rapp said. “Springfield now knows that we’re the team that they have to play against, we’re the team they have to play for, and their biggest game this season will be our biggest game this season now when we go to their place.”
The Crimson will head to Beverly, Mass. for its next match against non-conference opponent Endicott next Tuesday.
—Staff writer Courtney D. Skinner can be reached at email@example.com.