Unfortunately for the Crimson, Ogbechie’s absence was too much to overcome as Harvard lost against the University of New Hampshire, 3-1 (23-30, 23-30, 30-28, 24-30) in its last non-conference game of the season on Tuesday night in Durham, N.H.
The loss to New Hampshire (9-9) overshadowed strong efforts by Crimson junior Nilly Schweitzer, who registered a double-double with 11 kills and 10 digs, and senior Nathalie Miller, who led the Crimson defense in digs with 16.
Co-captain Mariah Pospisil and freshman middle hitter Katie Turley-Molony, who has filled in for Ogbechie this season, each added 9 kills, and freshman setter Sarah Cebron recorded 14 digs in the effort.
The Crimson (2-9, 1-0 Ivy league) has dropped three straight non-conference matches since beating Dartmouth in the Ivy opener—Ogbechie’s last game—September 26.
Ogbechie, a junior from Diamond Bar, CA, has been attempting to defy medical convention this season by playing despite her injured knee.
After sitting out the first seven matches of the season, Ogbechie returned in style against Dartmouth on September 26, recording 15 kills on .278 hitting.
Since that game, however, she has yet to play again.
Turley-Molony, a freshman from San Jose, CA, has played impressively in Ogbechie’s place. Her 84 kills are good for fourth on the team, and she is third on the squad in blocks per game.
Still, the Crimson misses Ogbechie, who has begun racking up accolades since she was named the Ivy League’s Rookie of the Year in 2001, culminating in her selection as League MVP—Harvard’s first ever—last season.
Her own tentative plan, she said Tuesday, is to play out the rest of the Ivy League schedule.
“I want to be able to play, and contribute, as much as I can,” she said. “We’ll see what happens.”
Still, she said she would prefer to take matters “a day at a time.”
The Crimson travels to Hanover, N.H. on Friday at 7 p.m. to play its second Ivy League match against Dartmouth.
Ogbechie said the team has retained a positive outlook going into Friday’s game, even though this season has presented challenges absent from last year’s near title run.
“We got all the less fortunate matches out of our system,” she said. “Now we know what we need to work on.”
If Ogbechie has her way, Harvard can expect another victory over the Big Green on Friday.