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W. Spikers Bow Out of Ivy Tourney

* After Winning Regular-Season Ivy Crown, Spikers Sent Home by Big Green

By Kelly M. Gushue, CRIMSON STAFF WRITER

The women's volleyball season came to an abrupt halt on Saturday when the team was defeated early in the Ivy Tournament and finished in fourth place.

"We were all extremely disappointed," said co-captain Elissa Hart. "The Whole weekend we didn't play up to our potential. There was no concrete reason for us to lose."

Harvard (25-9, 7-0 Ivy) entered the tournament as the undefeated top seed and the team favored to win the Ivy title. The Crimson, however, couldn't bring home the gold, losing first to Yale on Friday and Dartmouth on Saturday in a double-elimination match.

In the first round, Harvard was paired up with fifth seed Columbia.

"We expected to win decisively," Hart said.

The Crimson had defeated the Lions in shutout matches both times this season. Harvard, however, struggled to win in four games: 15-11, 15-4, 11-15, 15-10.

"Columbia took us by surprise. They had a big block and good defense. It shook us up a bit," Hart said.

In the third game, the Lions took a 9-0 lead with unstoppable serving rally and went on to win that game. Harvard came back strongly in the fourth to capture the victory.

"We were confident we could get the job done," said Hart.

Harvard's next opponent was second-seeded Yale.

The Crimson had beaten Yale decisively two weeks ago, 3-1. The Bulldogs, however, showed a different game playing on their home court.

"Yale came out tough in the first game and we didn't react quickly," Hart said.

"We came out really flat and let them play while we let things get to us," said senior co-captain Lolita Lopez.

Yale played solidly in front of a home crowd of over 200 fans. The Crimson could not endure the pressure and was defeated in three straight games, 9-15, 8-15, 5-15.

"We were all disappointed with the loss," Hart said. "It was a crucial game for us."

Harvard, however, was not ready to throw in the towel yet. On Saturday, the Crimson faced off against Columbia again. The Lions had upset Brown the night before as the underdog.

The Harvard team showed its undefeated game style and defeated the Lions decisively in three straight games, 15-6, 15-7, 15-7.

Later that afternoon, the Crimson played Dartmouth, another team the Crimson had beaten soundly during the season. The Big Green, however, had played two matches earlier and earned two big wins as the underdog.

"There are always so many surprises and disappointments in the Ivy League Tournament," Hart said. "The structure itself tends to favor the underdog. It is their last chance to redeem themselves. As the first seed, there is a different attitude. You're playing not to lose rather than playing to win."

"When people want something too much," said Lopez, "people often can't control themselves and get overzealous. We knew we could do it mentally and physically we just couldn't get it done."

In the Dartmouth game, the Big Green demonstrated the feistiness and drive of a team determined for victory.

"Dartmouth had great defense and great service. They came out really tough."

In the first game, Harvard kept up point for point until Darmouth took the lead at 11 and captured the victory: 15-11.

In the second game, Harvard's service defense broke down and the Big Green embarrassed Harvard 15-2.

"We just couldn't get it together," said Hart. "Nothing was working."

In the do-or-die third game, the Crimson refused to give up. In a 12-8 deficit, Harvard began to gain momentum which carried them to win the third game 15-12.

"We came back tough. We were playing like a team and things started coming together."

In the fourth game, Harvard's game continued to dominate and the Crimson won the next game 15-6.

"After the third game, Dartmouth started to break down. We were sure we would win," Hart said.

A number of players stepped up in different areas during the game. Hart tallied 18 kills, junior Melissa Forcum had 14 and sophomore Linda Jellison had 12 On defense, Forcum completed 24 digs followed by co-captain Lolita Lopez with 22.

The fifth and final game to decide the win and championship contender was rally point.

"The game goes really quickly and Dartmouth got more points before we could react."

Harvard was down 10-8 when a decisive play that Harvard had played was called in but then overruled by another referee. After a big commotion and an overturn of the call, momentum shifted back to Dartmouth.

The Big Green went on to reach 15 first and pulled the rug out from under Harvard's legs. The Crimson ended its undefeated season with a fourth place finish in the Tournament.

"After having such a terrific season, it is tough to end on such a sad note. There hasn't been this sense of closure yet," Hart said.

Despite a disappointed end to a spectacular season, Harvard remains the only undefeated Ivy League team since 1990. That is an achievement no on can take away from the team

"We were confident we could get the job done," said Hart.

Harvard's next opponent was second-seeded Yale.

The Crimson had beaten Yale decisively two weeks ago, 3-1. The Bulldogs, however, showed a different game playing on their home court.

"Yale came out tough in the first game and we didn't react quickly," Hart said.

"We came out really flat and let them play while we let things get to us," said senior co-captain Lolita Lopez.

Yale played solidly in front of a home crowd of over 200 fans. The Crimson could not endure the pressure and was defeated in three straight games, 9-15, 8-15, 5-15.

"We were all disappointed with the loss," Hart said. "It was a crucial game for us."

Harvard, however, was not ready to throw in the towel yet. On Saturday, the Crimson faced off against Columbia again. The Lions had upset Brown the night before as the underdog.

The Harvard team showed its undefeated game style and defeated the Lions decisively in three straight games, 15-6, 15-7, 15-7.

Later that afternoon, the Crimson played Dartmouth, another team the Crimson had beaten soundly during the season. The Big Green, however, had played two matches earlier and earned two big wins as the underdog.

"There are always so many surprises and disappointments in the Ivy League Tournament," Hart said. "The structure itself tends to favor the underdog. It is their last chance to redeem themselves. As the first seed, there is a different attitude. You're playing not to lose rather than playing to win."

"When people want something too much," said Lopez, "people often can't control themselves and get overzealous. We knew we could do it mentally and physically we just couldn't get it done."

In the Dartmouth game, the Big Green demonstrated the feistiness and drive of a team determined for victory.

"Dartmouth had great defense and great service. They came out really tough."

In the first game, Harvard kept up point for point until Darmouth took the lead at 11 and captured the victory: 15-11.

In the second game, Harvard's service defense broke down and the Big Green embarrassed Harvard 15-2.

"We just couldn't get it together," said Hart. "Nothing was working."

In the do-or-die third game, the Crimson refused to give up. In a 12-8 deficit, Harvard began to gain momentum which carried them to win the third game 15-12.

"We came back tough. We were playing like a team and things started coming together."

In the fourth game, Harvard's game continued to dominate and the Crimson won the next game 15-6.

"After the third game, Dartmouth started to break down. We were sure we would win," Hart said.

A number of players stepped up in different areas during the game. Hart tallied 18 kills, junior Melissa Forcum had 14 and sophomore Linda Jellison had 12 On defense, Forcum completed 24 digs followed by co-captain Lolita Lopez with 22.

The fifth and final game to decide the win and championship contender was rally point.

"The game goes really quickly and Dartmouth got more points before we could react."

Harvard was down 10-8 when a decisive play that Harvard had played was called in but then overruled by another referee. After a big commotion and an overturn of the call, momentum shifted back to Dartmouth.

The Big Green went on to reach 15 first and pulled the rug out from under Harvard's legs. The Crimson ended its undefeated season with a fourth place finish in the Tournament.

"After having such a terrific season, it is tough to end on such a sad note. There hasn't been this sense of closure yet," Hart said.

Despite a disappointed end to a spectacular season, Harvard remains the only undefeated Ivy League team since 1990. That is an achievement no on can take away from the team

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