The men's volleyball team's search for consistency came up empty--again--at the Concordia Tournament this Saturday.
Harvard (11-14) finished the tournament 1-2, losing to the State University of New York at New Paltz and Queens College in five and four games, respectively. Harvard did manage to defeat Concordia 3-1 in the final game to salvage what was an otherwise dismal tournament.
"Personally, I felt we had enough talent to win," setter Abbas Hyderi said. "It's disappointing because we've lost six or seven five-game matches over the last two weeks."
The Crimson was again without setter Evan Beachy, and rotated both Peter Buletza and Hyderi in that position. Also missing from the line-up was outside hitter Ben Taxy.
Harvard's lack of continuity was apparent early on in the match against New Paltz. The Crimson fell behind 7-1 in the first game, before switching in Hyderi for Buletza. The substitution worked--although Harvard dropped that game, the team rebounded to take a 2-1 lead in the match. But that's when things fell apart.
"Our fourth game was really erratic," Hyderi said. "Blocking and passing have been the keys all season and we got lackadaisical."
The fifth game of the match was a "rally" game--meaning that points can be scored regardless of which team controls the serve. Harvard battled the entire way, but finally lost 16-14 to a more aggressive New Paltz team.
The second match against Queens College was equally disappointing. Harvard managed to win only one of four games from a lesser opponent.
"We've handily beaten teams better than Queens College," Hyderi said. "But our blocking was weak throughout the day and they ran some quick plays on us."
Harvard's final game, a 3-1 victory over Concordia, was a step in the right direction. The Crimson win was keyed by improved serving and hitting.
"We were looser and, by that point, more used to each other," Hyderi said. "It was a pretty sound victory for us...we'd beaten Concordia once before [3-1 in a home win in February]."
The Crimson heads to Canada next weekend for a tournament against some top competition. Harvard will face the Senior Men's team from Quebec, a squad which features two Olympians.
"This tournament should give us both exposure and experience [against high-caliber teams]," Hyderi said. "It should be good preparation for the Ivy League."
The Crimson also expects Beachy to return by the end of next week, which should help stabilize the team by providing renewed continuity up-front.