They played for 11 hours on Saturday, but when the final game ended the Harvard volleyball team finished second behind Northeastern University in the exhausting, heartbreaking New England Collegiate Volleyball League postseason tournament.
The Crimson breezed through the first two rounds of the double elimination competition, beating B.U. and Middlebury.
Harvard then moved on to the third round where they topped the University of Rhode Island. Simultaneously Northeastern was defeating the University of New Hampshire.
In the crucial fourth round Northeastern beat URI, thus eliminating Rhode Island from the tournament. At about the same time UNH was conquering Harvard 15-10, 15-4.
Thus while the Crimson and New Hampshire, both with 3-1 tournament records, moved into the fifth round unbeaten, Northeastern rested.
In the first game UNH took an early 9-2 advantage, but Harvard took the offensive and ended up on the long end of a 16-14 score. The teams repeated themselves in the next game, New Hampshire pulling ahead by an 11-3 mark, with the Crimson roaring back for a 16-14 victory.
Roger Martin expressed the feelings of many team members towards the extra match, saying "While we were playing our guts out, Northeastern was resting."
But the Crimson didn't give up, beating the Huskies in the sixth round in straight 15-11 games.
But the effects of the long day began to appear in the final match. "We weren't getting up on our blocks and our hitting wasn't that good," Martin said. Northeastern took the match--and the tournament--15-14 and 15-10.