Inconsistency struck the Harvard men’s volleyball again last night in Bristol, R.I., and this time it dealt the Crimson a potentially devastating blow.
Harvard’s wrenching five-game loss to Roger Williams—30-25, 26-30, 27-30, 30-25, 8-15—dropped the Crimson (7-5, 6-5 EIVA) three games back of the Hawks (13-5, 8-2) in the loss column with four league matches remaining, and forced Harvard’s players to face the possibility of not reaching the playoffs.
The Crimson found itself with its back against the wall—a position it has often occupied this season—in game four, but Harvard rose to the occasion to play perhaps its best game of the year. Storming out to a 10-2 lead, the Crimson never looked back in cruising to the five-point victory, and seemed to have captured the momentum heading into a decisive game five.
“We crushed those guys [in game four],” said junior outside hitter Will Reppun, who led the Crimson with 17 kills. “It was our best played game of the year. Everyone was rolling.”
But the inconsistent, up-and-down play that has haunted the Crimson all season came back at the worst possible time. Harvard fell behind in the short fifth game, and the Hawks quickly finished off the match.
“This was an incredibly tough loss,” sophomore outside hitter Seamus McKiernan said. “We strung together some of our best play of the year tonight, but it’s a game of consistency, and we couldn’t take the momentum into the fifth game.”
The Crimson stuck to its general pattern by opening the match with a strong, decisive victory, before dropping the next two games in the face of the talented Roger Williams’ attack. Harvard stayed close to the Hawks in games two and three, but did not exhibit the energy with which they had entered the match.
“We are all very emotional players, and we’re very hot and cold,” said junior outside hitter Juan Ramos, who had 16 digs. “It’s chemistry. We have to learn to play as a team.”
Sophomore middle blocker Abe Marouf had 11 kills and McKiernan added 14 for the Crimson.
“It’s frustrating when you don’t control your own destiny,” Ramos said.