On paper, the volleyball team’s split against Harvard and Dartmouth this weekend is no cause for alarm.
But the likely season-ending injury to outside hitter Dana Loberg ’03 is an immediate concern.
Loberg, second on the team in kills, broke her hitting hand against Dartmouth in the Bulldogs’ 3-0 (30-16, 30-23, 30-16) victory in Hanover, N.H. on Saturday. The weekend split left the Bulldogs at 7-6 for the season, 1-2 in Ivy League play.
Coach Peg Scofield described Loberg’s impending absence as “a huge loss.”
“She is one of our strongest passers, servers and outside hitters,” Scofield said. “We’re going to have to work on some things in practice this week to compensate.”
Kelly McAlearney ’04 filled in for Loberg to complete the Dartmouth contest and led the team with a career-high 19 digs. She also finished with eight kills.
Scofield said Loberg’s replacement will probably change depending on the opposition.
Leading the attack against the Big Green were Jana Freeman ’05 and Renee Lopes ’06, who recorded 14 and nine kills respectively. Jacqueline Becker ’06 had 34 assists.
“I don’t think Dartmouth necessarily played its best match,” Scofield said. “We got on them early, and we had a number of things working well, especially our outside hitting with Jana [Freeman].”
The win over Dartmouth prevented the Bulldogs from falling to 0-3 in the Ivy League.
On Friday, Harvard defeated the Elis 3-0 (30-21, 30-24, 30-25) in Cambridge, Mass. Despite being only 8-7 overall, the Crimson now lead the Ivy League with a 4-0 conference record.
“We showed up and just didn’t put it together,” captain Betty Picinic ’03 said. “There were times when we had the focus but not the drive to put the ball down and times when we had the drive but were making mental errors.”
Scofield said the loss was “tough to explain.”
“We had a good warmup, and everything seemed to be fine,” Scofield said. “Then the match started, and every single thing that we had been succeeding at — our offense, our defense — was just a step off.”
Freeman, who is recovering from a sprained ankle, made the Ivy League’s weekly honor roll. Against Harvard, she again led the team with 14 kills.
“Jana is just back in the lineup, and she’s done an excellent job of getting back in rhythm,” Scofield said.
But Loberg’s loss still looms large.
“We’re going to miss Dana’s stability on the court,” Picinic said. “She’s a steady passer and our go-to hitter when no one else can put the ball down.”
The Bulldogs sit in sixth place in the league with their 1-2 record, but they can gain ground this weekend when they host the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University. The Quakers (11-4, 2-1) and the Tigers (9-2, 2-1) are tied for third in the league.
“We had really good practices Monday and Tuesday, and we know what we have to do to win,” Picinic said. “We’re definitely excited to be at home finally for a league match. Things look pretty optimistic considering we lost our best player.”