Harvard Volleyball Team Wins Title

Takes New England Championships With 10-1 Record

The steadily-improving Harvard volleyball team turned in its strongest performance of the year Saturday to capture the New England Volleyball Championships held at Wentworth Institute.

Harvard entered the tournament in a division that included MIT, the University of Rhode Island and Yale. The Crimson earned the top seed for the play-off round by winning its division championship with a record of 7-1, losing only to Yale.

Advancing to the playoff round, Harvard crushed Wentworth, 15-2, and easily handled Yale, 15-5, 16-4, to clinch the title.

In addition to taking the team title, the spikers garnered a host of individual honors. Crimson mentor Mike Palm, selected as the New England coach of the year, Steve Kay, named to the New England all-star first team, and Peter Graham and Todd Stitzer, placed on the second team, brought the trophies home for Harvard.

"The big difference in our play was the defense," Palm said afterwards. "For the first time this year, the blocking up at the net was coordinated between our two players."


Palm also lauded individual team members. "Steve Kay played his smartest games of the year and was really hitting the ball well. Todd Stitzer also played his usual strong game," he said. "But the biggest surprise was the fine play of Peter Graham."

Team Effort

Captain Stitzer agreed: "It was an overall team effort. There was great improvement by our less-experienced players Joe Antenucci, Wolfgang Gutschert, and Peter Matthias," he said. "It was the first time we played together as a unit and that was the secret. Our spiking and faking were excellent, and the defense was fantastic."

Successful Weekends

The victory marked the second consecutive weekend that the spikers have played well in a tournament. Last Saturday at the East Coast Volleyball Championships the Crimson edged out Penn State to win its division before bowing out in the playoff.

The tournament win bodes well for the near future because Harvard established that it can beat Yale. The Crimson currently shares second place with the Elis for the final playoff spot in their division of the East Coast Volleyball League.

Palm is optimistic about his team's chances against Yale. "We should be able to beat out Yale for that playoff spot. They were missing one of their better players this weekend, but I don't think he'll really make that much difference," he said.

Stitzer added, "We use an Olympic 6-0 offense in which the backcourt man sets it for the three front line spikers, and Yale can't handle it."

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