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For the past two seasons, the bane of the Harvard women's volleyball team's existence has been streaky play.
Last year, the squad (8-12 overall, 3-2 Ivy) suffered one big long losing streak, dropping nine of 10 games at one point.
This season, it has had a succession of losing streaks, dropping two or more games in a row four times.
These statistics have not been entirely accidental. The young squad has been inclined to lose confidence after a loss.
"Confidence is really important for us," co-captain Judy Iriye said earlier this season. "We have had a tendency to lose confidence in our ability to win, and that has killed us in the past."
If that be the case, tonight's game at Brown is an important occasion. The Crimson is coming off of a tough 3-1 loss to UMass Amherst Tuesday night.
The squad lost the first game 15-9, won the second, 15-11, and then won its last two, 15-0, 15-9.
The loss was particularly painful in that it came on the heels of a respectable effort at the Hartford Invitational last weekend.
In the tourney alone, the Crimson exhibited its streaky tendencies. It opened up the tournament with two losses, and then finished with two wins.
In the first match of the tourney, the Crimson lost to Central Connecticut, 1-3. It dropped 16-14 and 15-11 games, won a 15-8 decision, and then dropped a 15-7 game.
In the second match, it dropped a nail-biter to Hartford. It lost a 15-7 opening game, won a 15-11 game, dropped a 15-8 game, won a 15-10 game and then lost a 15-8 contest.
Then the squad turned it around.
In the third match of the tournament, it beat Fairfield, 3-1. After losing a 15-6 game, it won three straight: 15-6, 15-8 and 15-4.
The Crimson then whipped Wagner in one of its most impressive wins of the season.
In garnering a 3-0 win, it took 15-8, 15-3 and 15-6 games, respectively.
After the UMass loss, the squad will attempt to get back on the winning track tonight.
If history is any guide, however, the squad might be in trouble.
It suffered a 3-1 loss to the Bears earlier this season, losing 15-0, 10-15, 15-2 and 15-11.
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