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Harvard Edges MIT In 5 Tough Matches

By Paul Dill

TEAM COACH

In the most fun and compelling match of the season, the varsity men’s volleyball team ended its season by pushing Harvard to the very edge of defeat. In what was supposed to be an easier match (at least on paper) for the much taller Harvard squad, the Engineers played some of their best volleyball of the season and showed that they are a program on the rise.

From the first points of the match, it was a back and forth battle that stayed close throughout. Harvard was able to win the first game 30-28, but the Engineers fought back in the second game, winning in convincing fashion with the score of 30-23. MIT continued to keep the pressure on and built a 28-26 lead in the third game, but their opponents made a last minute run and stole the game 30-28.

With their backs to the wall, the Engineers refused to lie down and came out fighting in the fourth game building a nice lead late in the game once again. Harvard again made a late run, but this time MIT slammed the door shut winning 30-28. The deciding fifth game was more of the same intense fighting for every point, which saw the Engineers stay aggressive throughout and almost pulled off an amazing win. However, Harvard proved to be a bit stronger on the day taking the fifth game 15-12.

Rob McAndrew ’05 and Kabir Mukkadam ’05 led the offense with 27 and 17 kills, respectively, while Jordan Wan ’06 dished out 50 assists in the effort. Carlos Dorta-Quinones ’04 and Hao Hu ’04 anchored the defense with 16 and seven digs, respectively, while strong role play by defensive specialists Joseph Yu ’04 and Jason Park ’05 were also key in the effort.

The team ends its season with an overall record of 12-14, which is the first ten win season and best record for the program since 1993. The squad actually came one point away from finishing .500 for the first time in 11 seasons as well. Although a .500 season was one of the goals for this season, the more important goal was to build a solid foundation and team culture from which the program could move forward. This last match shows how much the team has grown and how far the program has come in a single season, and it shows the team how much potential it has to be a force to reckon with next season.