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By the time Brown finally prevailed, 16-14 in the fifth and final game of the Harvard-Bruin women's volleyball match at the IAB last night, both teams had provided a crowd of 50 fans with enough vicarious thrills to last a season.
The contest was marked by surges by both teams, with momentum changing hands at the tip of the net. The outcome boiled down to the net. The outcome boiled down to the inexperience of a Harvard team that just this year acquired varsity status.
The loss evens the squad's record at 2-2, 0-1 in the Ivy League. The team has a trimatch at Tufts Saturday and travels to a tournament at Northeastern next week.
Sparked by the play of acrobatic junior Margaret Chang, Harvard overcame an early Bruin advantage in a close-fought first game to reach game point at 14-12. But that was as far as the Crimson got, as a see-saw battle of side-outs eventually turned Brown's direction, giving the Bruins the game 16-14.
Picking themselves up quickly for the start of game two, the Crimson jumped out to a lead of 5-0, and proceeded to run away with the contest 15-7. Defensively the team left no holes in the floor, and on the attack, the tandem of Chang to senior Elizabeth Peterson dominated play.
It was an act that was to continue through the third game, with even more players getting a share of the spotlight, particularly sophomore Rusty Baker, whose forceful serves and spikes helped her squad to a 15-7 win.
Mistakes plagued the Bruins--and benefitted the Crimson--most of the way through game four, as Harvard rode Brown's missed spikes and poor sets all the way to a 13-7 advantage, just two points away from the match.
At this point, though, the Crimson spikers lost composure, enabling the Bruins to roar back for eight straight points and a 15-13 win that squared the match at 2-2.
As the fifth game began, the Crimson tried to steady itself, to regain the composure that had carried it through the first three and a half games. Panic struck, however, and the spikers lost 11 of the first 12 points.
With a 10-point deficit on the board, most of the 60-odd spectators were already anticipating the long trip down four flights of IAB stairs. But the Harvard squad didn't die.
Borrowing a chapter from the recently compiled Bruin book of comebacks, Harvard pulled a fast one itself, winning 13 of the next 15 tallies to pull ahead 14-13.
But that was the last of the scoring for the Crimson, as the last point again proved to be the hardest to win. The Bruins won three well-played points to win the match.
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