Harvard To Close Season At Home
The Harvard men’s volleyball team (8-13, 0-7 EIVA) was in a very different place on February 15 than it is now. Two months ago, the Crimson was coming off a four-game winning streak and had won six of its last seven games.
But two months later, the team has added just two more wins, while adding 12 more losses to its record, including seven in league play. Harvard will try to end this skid in its final game of the season against the New Jersey Institute of Technology (7-19, 1-6) at the Malkin Athletic Center tomorrow afternoon.
The Highlanders, fellow bottom dwellers in the Hay division standings, just beat Harvard this past Saturday, 3-1.
“In our last match [against NJIT] I felt like we never really came together, and never really got any rhythm going,” said junior co-captain and outside hitter Matt Jones. “It was a weak match for us, and we never really had control of the game, even though we did win that one set.”
“We need to defend their serves better,” he added. “They had a couple jump servers get some runs on us that I really think we can minimize if we bear down and can focus a little more.”
NJIT began the year slowly, losing five of its first six, and got its first and only win in EIVA play over the Crimson. But overall the visiting team has shown improvement from last year’s three-win season.
Harvard won only five games last season, but three victories came in conference play. This year the Crimson has failed to record a conference victory.
Although neither team will be playing in the EIVA conference tournament that begins later this month, both squads can use wins in the season finale to build momentum for next season.
“The team definitely wants to end the season on a high note,” said freshman outside hitter Chris Gibbons. “Trying to end the season on a high note, and showing the level of energy we can play with is really what we want to accomplish.”
Next year holds promise for both teams.
At least a part of this year’s struggles can be attributed to rosters filled with young players. Harvard has only one senior and two juniors. Four sophomores and five freshmen round out the squad.
“This season we had a young team, with many of our guys starting in their first year,” Jones said. “As a team we don’t have a ton of experience together, but I think they’ve done a great job.”
“Coming into this season we didn’t really know what to expect,” Gibbons added. “We had a lot of young guys playing and it took time for us to learn how we play [together] on the court. But we have grown individually and as a team, and next year with a lot of guys coming back and with most of our team intact, it is definitely going to be a good year.”
The Highlanders’ roster is similarly composed. NJIT has no seniors and only one junior, while sporting seven sophomores and six freshmen.
But in the battle of the young last week, the Highlanders held the upper hand.