The Harvard women’s volleyball team dropped to 4-2 on the season after falling to non-conference foe Northeastern at Solomon Court in Boston last night.
The Crimson fell 3-0 to the Huskies. It was the first time Harvard has been swept in a match this season.
“We had a lot of unforced errors, they capitalized on them and they served aggresively,” Harvard Coach Jennifer Weiss said.
The Crimson tried to compensate by changing their defense in the second and third games and would “play point-for-point, but then the errors would come,” Weiss said.
Northeastern was led by Kristin Deatherage, who posted 12 kills, and Gianina Pellegrini, who smacked down 10 more. Statisticly the Huskies overwhelmed the Crimson by outblocking them 11-6 and outgunning them with a .239 hiting percentage to the Crimson’s uncharacteristic .145.
The Huskies also had three players above the .300 mark while freshman middle hitter Kaego Ogbechie was the lone Crimson player to reach that mark.
After bringing home Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors last week, Ogbechie shined for the Crimson in a losing effort last night, as she posted 15 kills and a .417 hitting percentage.
Hailing from Diamond Bar, Calif., Ogbechie has been consistently posting hitting percentages over .400.
“We played really hard on the court,” Ogbechie said of the Crimson’s effort against the Huskies. “We played with fight and we played with heart.”
Before the game, Crimson players owned four of the top five spots in the Ivy League hitting pecentage rankings. Harvard was unable to continue the trend last night, however.
Co-captains Erin Denniston and Mindy Jellin continued their solid play for the Crimson as well. Denniston, the team’s premier outside hitter, swatted in 12 kills and showed no signs of fading after snatching Ivy Leauge Player of the Week honors last week.
Jellin set 31 assists for the Crimson to improve on her leaue-leading average in that category.
Both Denniston and Jellin earned Ivy Leauge Rookie of the Year honors as freshmen and are part of Coach Weiss’ corps of solid players.
Despite last night’s setback, Coach Weiss has stated that team chemistry and staying healthy will be keys to success this season.
The Ivy League traditionally has a tight race for first place, but with this year’s mix of veteran leaders and rookie talent she believes they have a good chance to be at the top.
Ivy League play begins on Friday for the Crimson as it plays at Dartmouth, and Coach Weiss believes playing tough non-conference opponents helps prepare the team for the Ivy slate.
“As a whole we learned from it,” Weiss said. “Coming into Friday we will be in a good state of mind.”
Added Ogbechie: “We decided to start over with a fresh game and attitude” for Friday.
Harvard women’s volleyball has never won the Ivy League title. However, with her husband Jay bringing home his first Ivy League title as the Harvard wrestling coach last year, and with her bounty of young talent and skilled position players, Coach Weiss has plenty of motivation and the means with which to acheive this benchmark.