It may have been St. Patrick's Day, but the Harvard men's volleyball team saw no need to call on the luck of the Irish.
The Crimson departed the Malkin Athletic Center last night with a 3-0 win against a much weaker Roger Williams team, and it didn't even play to its full potential.
"It was a great game for us," Harvard Coach Ihsan Gurdal said. "We were able to play people off the bench and they played extremely well."
But he was hardly ecstatic, despite Harvard's 15-8, 15-5 and 15-8 victories. Gurdal attributed the shaky play of the Crimson starters to the difficulty in "getting up against a weak team."
Indeed, Roger Williams could hardly play at Harvard's level. But although it was severely deficient in every basic volleyball skill, Roger Williams managed to stave off embarrassment against the superior Crimson.
Harvard never established a solid momentum, but instead gradually crept to victory through a long and alternating sequence of side-outs.
The Crimson struggled with its accuracy early in the match, but for every unforced error that Harvard made, its less athletic opponents made another.
Such action (or lack thereof) characterized the match.
It wasn't until the middle of the third game that Harvard raised the level of intensity. Co-Captain Vince Marin--whose setting was one of the few constancies of the night--scored three straight points on kills from the inside spot to give Harvard a 9-5 lead.
Thorn a Pain
After a brief lapse, senior Wray Thorn added a few kills and freshman Pete Buletza slammed home the winner off a beautiful back-set from Marin for the final point in the match.
The win was a step forward for Harvard, which has been battling consistency problems all season.
"Today was progress that we need to make to reach the NCAAs," Marin said.
The crucial part of the season--including the Ivy League post-season tournament next month after spring break--is still to come, and Harvard is eyeing that NCAA tournament spot.
The consistency issue could be the deciding factor. But Marin isn't too worried.
"With plenty of hard work, we'll be on track again," Marin said.