Winless Streak Extended to Four
With the return of co-captain Gil Weintraub to the lineup and Harvard playing on its home floor for the first time all year, the scene was set for the men’s volleyball team to capture its first victory of the season.
But things did not pan out as expected.
Plagued by inconsistent serving and confronted with a strong attack, the Crimson (0-4) fell in straight sets to Baruch (10-2) in front of a home crowd at the Malkin Athletic Center last night.
Despite the lopsided outcome, the Crimson managed to keep the scores tight within the sets, outscored by just a combined seven points. Harvard lost its first two sets by two points apiece (30-28 and 33-31), before dropping the final set, 30-27.
“I think in the end it’s about closing out,” Weintraub said. “We were able to hang with them the entire match through all three sets. Closing the game is what makes the difference.”
Weintraub, a former setter turned outside hitter, returned to the lineup for the first time after missing the Crimson’s first three matches with an ankle injury. The senior’s return was welcomed by an ailing Harvard team, which dressed just seven players for last night’s match.
Weintraub was able to make his presence felt immediately, leading his team with 16 points on 13 kills and two serving aces. But Weintraub’s first game back was not without its hiccups, as he finished with five serving errors.
“It feels really good not to be on the bench and where you can actually contribute,” Weintraub said. “And I think I was able to, but it just wasn’t enough in the end.”
Weintraub played a crucial part in orchestrating a Harvard run early in the second set that got the Crimson back in the game after the squad fell behind 11-8 and was in danger of dropping its second set.
After a Baruch serving error put the ball back in the hands of the Crimson, sophomore outside hitter Matt Jones hammered a ball off a group of Bearcats defenders, getting Harvard back within a single point.
Weintraub knotted the score at eleven, this time getting the ball past a triple block. On the following possession, Weintraub blocked a Baruch spike attempt and when the ball landed on the Bearcats side, the Crimson took the lead—and the momentum.
The teams exchanged points down the stretch, tying the score at 25 and then at 27. Weintraub broke the tie on his next serve, getting the ball to dance on the net before dropping onto the Baruch side for the ace.
But the co-captain’s next serve went long and the score was knotted again at 28.
“We need to serve better,” said Harvard coach Brian Baise, whose team finished with 17 serving errors.
Despite its woes behind the service line, the Crimson would come away with two opportunities to capture the set.