The Harvard men's volleyball team's victory over New Jersey Science and Technology University last weekend was a spark of hope in what has been so far an underachieving season.
Reviewing the first 10 games, in which all except one have been losses, one of the key flaws of the team is its overall lack of efficiency both offensively and defensively. The Crimson offense has been error prone, committing 241 errors on 1118 total attacks this season. Harvard falls below its opponents in attack percentage, .191 to .289, as well as kills per set, at 13.4 to 14.9. Additionally, service errors —148 and counting—take away important and hard-earned possessions.
The fact that the Crimson cannot take advantage of its chances on offense is a big part of the reason for its losing record. In fact, in the 3-1 loss to the Stevens Institute of Technology four days ago, the team committed three service errors to give the game to the Ducks.
On the defensive end, Harvard falls below its opponents in total blocks 64.5 to 92.5. Also, it has committed 66 serve reception errors, translating to 1.9 errors per set. While this might not seem like a big number, momentum plays a huge role in the game of volleyball, and sophomore Matt Jones stressed the importance of stopping the opponent team's runs, a feat that can only be achieved through a more efficient and error-free defense.
On the bright side, the team has seen huge contributions from its young starters, with sophomores Nicola Ivica and Jones recording a combined 196 kills and freshman Derek Jansma getting 60 digs to lead the team. With the new lineup change and the team's recent shift in morale, the Crimson still has hopes of having a good season, provided the team plays more efficiently in both aspects of the game.