The Harvard men’s volleyball team ended its season with two disappointing home losses last weekend against division rivals Sacred Heart University and New Jersey Institute of Technology at the Malkin Athletic Center. The Crimson (5-16, 3-5 EIVA Hay Division) played every match down to the wire, stretching the Pioneers (18-10, 5-3 Hay) to five sets and taking the Highlanders (3-18, 2-6 Hay) to four sets.
But despite the players’ tremendous efforts, Harvard could not pull through, and the two losses ended any playoff hopes for the Crimson.
“It was a hard-fought season,” Co-captain Gil Weintraub said. “In the end, it didn’t go our way.”
NJIT 3, HARVARD 1
In its final match of the season, Harvard lost to NJIT, 3-1 (25-30, 30-17, 32-30, 34-32). Although the Crimson dominated the first set, the Highlanders bounced back, taking three straight sets to win the match.
“It was a disappointing way to end the season,” Harvard coach Brian Baise said. “We couldn’t come back after last night’s loss.”
Harvard built up a three-point lead late into the first set with consecutive blocks that fired up the players and fans. With momentum on its side, the Crimson would finish the first set, 30-25.
NJIT came out in the second set a completely different team. Due to a slew of Harvard errors, the Highlanders racked up a 12-point lead, and they never looked back, winning the set, 30-17.
The third set saw Harvard take an early 15-11 lead. Yet, NJIT bounced back to tie the set at 30. Coming out of a timeout, the Highlanders scored two consecutive points to take the back-and-forth set.
Harvard appeared undeterred at the start of the fourth game, quickly building a six-point lead. But once again, the Crimson gave up the advantage late into the game, and concluded the season on a sour note, losing, 34-32.
The loss marked the final match for several seniors, including co-captain Erik Kuld, Weintraub, Soren Rosier, and Nicholas Manzo.
“It’s sad to end like this,” Weintraub said, “but it has been a great four years, and I look back on it with great memories.”
SACRED HEART 3, HARVARD 2
The Crimson dropped a five-set thriller to Sacred Heart, 3-2 (30-23, 31-33, 32-30, 26-30, 15-13), last Friday despite strong performances from sophomore Matt Jones and Kuld, who recorded 26 and 19 kills, respectively. Harvard led by one down the stretch of the fifth set before the Pioneers rallied for three consecutive points, including a game-winning block that sealed the match.
“I thought our team played well and hit hard,” Baise said. “I have nothing but good things to say.”
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