The Harvard women's volleyball team continued its promising start to the 1995 season by posting an easy 3-0 win over Canisius this past weekend.
The Crimson (4-1, 0-0 Ivies) was relentless from the opening bell, rolling over the Golden Griffins 15-1 in the first frame. The next two sets were much of the same story, and the Harvard women made their trip to a place near Buffalo (where Canisius is located) worthwhile (if that's possible) by coming away with a dominating win.
All aspects of the Crimson engine were churning versus the outclassed Golden Griffins. Harvard refused to let down against its lesser opponent--a problem the Crimson has had in the past.
"Even though they were a weaker team, we played our game and didn't play down," co-captain Mika Sampson said. "We played consistently and cleanly."
The Crimson also passed well and communicated well, two thinks that will be key as this young team (with only two seniors and a whopping six freshmen) moves forward.
"We passed really well," sophomore middle blocker Sarah Logan said. "Our setters were able to run the offense really well. We communicated well, and we need to keep doing those things as the season continues."
Because the route was on early, the whole Harvard team got to see some action.
"The freshmen saw a lot of playing time," Sampson said, "And they played really well. We really were meshing as a team."
"This game was really neat because the whole team got to play," Logan added.
While this game was never in jeopardy, Harvard hopes to use this win as well as its fast jump out of the gate to build some momentum going forward. Last year, the Crimson got off to a 1-5 start and were never able to fully recover on its way to a 12-17, 3-4 Ivies year.
This year, however, the team is hoping for much more. Harvard is a strong offensive team, led by big-hitter sophomore Elissa Hart. And by playing good defense, the Crimson can exploit its offensive strength.
"We need to play good defense so we can use our defense to create offensive opportunities," Sampson said. "We have a strong offensive team, and good hitters and servers, and we're now ranked third in the country in Division I in digs (a defensive statistic)."
Harvard travels to UConn this coming weekend for the Connecticut Tournament, where host UConn, a perennially strong team, will be favored. UConn beat the Crimson last year in this tournament, but Harvard is looking for a different result this time around.
"We're a much stronger team this year than last year," co-captain Jennifer Jose said. "We've already been playing together for a few weeks, and our chemistry has been working very well."
Farleigh Dickinson and Hofstra are the other two teams in the tournament, and Sampson stressed that although Harvard is considered an underdog, it just might pull off the upset and come away with the tournament crown if it plays well.
"UConn is a very strong team," Sampson said, "But if we can maintain our level of play, we can win."
Logan echoed Sampson's thoughts.
"We have a really good chance against UConn," she said. "We're really excited to play. This weekend might be a really good weekend."