Last year, the Harvard women's volleyball team eliminated a heavily-favored Cornell squad from the Ivy League Tournament.
The Big Red cried and called it a fluke.
This year, the Crimson defeated Cornell in a tense five-set thriller at the Malkin Athletic Center last night in front of 80 spectators.
This time the Big Red didn't cry and realized that flukes can happen only once.
"We're definitely putting it together," Harvard Coach Wayne Lem said. "Everybody played well. We picked everything up. We refused to let the ball hit the ground."
Harvard (4-6 overall, 1-0 Ivy) captured a 15-9, 16-14, 12-15, 10-15, 15-7 decision to move into a first-place tie with Princeton in the Ivy League.
"It feels great beating them again," said Captain Maia Forman, who led the Crimson to its upset over Cornell in the Ivy Tournament. "Our defense really did it for us."
In the first set, Cornell jumped out to a 6-2 lead, but Harvard bounced back after a side-out battle to record three unanswered points and take over the momentum. The Big Red responded with three unanswered points to go up by four, 9-5.
But once Forman took the service line, the first set quickly became a memory for Cornell. Behind Forman's serving and Co-Captain Manda Schossberger's thunderous spikes, the Crimson reeled off 10 Consecutive points to win the set.
No fluke here.
The Big Red started off well in the second set, capturing the six of the first nine points. But the Crimson rebounded to close the defecit to 8-7 on fine plays at the net by Nicole Anderson and Peri Wallace.
But Cornell captured the next five points to take a 13-7 advantage. The Crimson scored three of the next four points to close the defecit.
And the Big Red found itself against a Crimson team that just would not relinquish the match.
Losing 14-10, freshman Danni Cunningham scored a kill, followed by an ace and kill by Forman, and a Wallace shank to tie the match at 14.
After getting a side-out, Schossberger and Anderson combined to put the set away with kills down the line.
Where's the fluke?
Harvard was digging up everything but the stripes on the court. The Crimson was saving balls that looked like they were going to fall.
"We were blocking, digging and hitting very well," Carolyn Burger said. "It was a good all-around team effort. It was a good start for the Ivy season."
The Crimson opened the third set with a 5-1 lead, but the Big Red rallied to take a 9-7 advantage. Cornell held off a late Harvard charge to win the set, 15-12.
In the fourth set, Cornell jumped out to a 10-1 lead, but Harvard showed character by getting back into the match with team defense and a blistering offense. The Crimson fought back to to close the defecit to 10-8.
Cornell won five of the next seven points to win the set.
The most important part of the set was Harvard's ability to comeback from a nine-point deficit. It sent a mesage loud and clear to the Cornell bench.
In the fifth set, Harvard dominated the set with timely hitting and a tenacious defense. The Crimson pulled out to an 8-3 lead, but Cornell bounced back to close Harvard's lead to 11-7.
Yet the Crimson would not be denied, capturing four straight points to win the set and match.
No more flukes allowed.