Playing only one regular starter, and fielding a squad that had never played together before, the Harvard women's volleyball team defeated Brandeis 3-1 last night in the Abraham Shapiro athletic center in Waltham.
This was the last regular season game for both teams with the Crimson closing out the year with a 14-10 mark. The spikers will continue to see action though when they play in the Division B state championships at MIT this Saturday.
The Brandeis team, consisting primarily of freshmen, got off to a strong start in the first game of the match. Harvard lost its serve, and the Judges took advantage of the Crimson's unsteadiness to grab a 7-0 lead. Although the spikers did make a comeback, Brandeis' early lead proved insurmountable, and the Judges took the first game, 15-9.
After finishing strong during the first game, the Crimson spikers took control of the second contest. Cathy Wong made perfect sets in front of the net to allow senior Elizabeth Peterson to place the ball by the Brandeis blockers. Good passing and spiking allowed Harvard to jump out to a 11-1 lead and from there the Crimson never looked back.
"This was our last game and we wanted to give everybody a chance to play, as well as give our regular starters a rest," said coach Karen (Happy) Altman. "Because they hadn't played together as a unit before, the starters took while to get steady on the court."
Neither team was able to keep its serve in the third game of the match and the score held at 2-1 Brandeis for six rotations. Harvard finally found a way to score when Wong served for four straight points to give the spikers a 5-2 lead.
Brandeis came right back behind the strong spiking of Mary Tom, the only senior on the team. Tom blocked a spike and then, after teammate Stacey Ballem's set, slammed the ball by the outstretched arms of Nina Henderson to give the Judges possession.
Brandeis got four straight points to bring the score to 6-5, but was unable to maintain possession. The Crimson finally took the game 15-1 and had a 2-1 advantage in the match.
The fourth game was reminiscent of the third, with neither team dominating in both committing many turnovers. In Judges' inexperience was the difference, at they seemed unsure about where to locate the ball and Harvard took the game and match 15-8.
The Crimson looked better and better as the match went along. Although they started out rather tentatively, by the end of the contest they were controlling the ball and placing it where they wanted to.
THE NOTEBOOK: Margaret Cheng was on the court last night but she wasn't playing. She was officiating at the line. Her only call came in the third game when Harvard was leading 5-2. To her team-mates' dismay, Cheng called a ball in that the officials thought was out, and gave Brandeis the point.
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