The beaches of sunny California were far away from the Malkin Athletic Center this weekend.
For the Harvard men's volleyball team, the forecast was cloudy as it lost matches to Yale and to league-rival MIT at the MAC. The Engineers beat the Crimson, 3-2, while the Elis swept Harvard, 3-0.
Harvard (0-2) started poorly, losing its first two games to MIT by identical scores of 15-10.
"We need to work on starting quickly," Harvard coach Ihsan Gurdal said. "We can never start flat against very good teams."
The Crimson came alive in the third game, thanks to freshmen Albert Kim and Brian Jones. With Kim serving to open the game, Harvard immediately showed some fire, jumping out to a 6-1 lead on the way to a 15-4 shellacking.
After Harvard vaulted to a 7-1 lead in the fourth game, the Engineers called a timeout.
The ploy worked and MIT crawled back into the game, taking a 11-8 lead. But the combination of freshman setter Pat Harlan and blocker Brian Erlich allowed Harvard to come back and seal the victory, 15-12, tying the match at two games each.
"We started with good hitting and passing in the first two games," MIT Coach Karyn Altman said. "The second two games our passing was off."
The fifth game went quickly because it was "rally scoring." In this type of competition, points are won regardless of which team serves.
The Crimson took a 8-4 lead when two MIT players watched the ball drop between them. But the Engineers rallied to a 13-13 tie. The match came down to two points.
"It became a five point match when we were tied at 10," Altman said. "You forget about the first four four games, and it's who's going to give out first."
Harvard lost the next point on a long spike by Jones.
MIT captured the match on a final rally that lasted approximately three minutes with each team making valiant diving saves.
After a fifteen-minute break the Crimson took the floor for the match against Yale. It was obvious from the outset that the MIT match had taken its toll.
The lifeless Crimson trailed out of the staring blocks, 8-0, on the way to a 15-5 defeat.
Gurdal inserted the second team to replaced his fatigued starters. The fresh squad, led by the strong net play of B.J. Jones, roared to a 13-8 lead, only to stall in a 15-13 loss.
The Elis took a commanding 9-0 lead to start the third game. Behind the serving power of Harlan, Harvard bounced back closing the gap to 12-11. The teams were locked at thirteen all with the aid of Erlich's booming spikes. However, Yale pocketed the next two points for the win.