Harvard (1-0) opened the weekend—and its season—with a thrilling five-game loss to Boston College on Friday night, but redeemed itself with a 3-2 victory over Rhode Island Saturday afternoon at the Malkin Athletic Center.
“The win [over Rhode Island] was very much a quality win,” Harvard coach Jennifer Weiss said. “Both [the Eagles and the Rams] were very big teams. Our heart and desire allowed us to stay in every point and get the job done.”
Sophomore outside hitter Laura Mahon—the reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Year—and classmate Suzie Trimble were named to the All-Tournament team.
HARVARD 3, HOLY CROSS 0
After two marathon matches, the Crimson finally got a chance to catch its breath, sweeping the Crusaders (30-20, 30-23, 30-26) to close out the New England Challenge with a 2-1 record.
Harvard survived a rash of unforced errors in the third frame, watching its eight-point lead evaporate to three before closing out Holy Cross 30-26.
“Holy Cross played well and dug a lot of balls,” Weiss said. “I think that caught us a bit off guard.”
After dropping the first three points of the second game, the Crimson capitalized on three Trimble aces to take 10 of the next 14 points and a 10-7 lead.
Three kills by junior middle hitter Katie Turley-Molony and two aces by freshman setter Laura Mays gave Harvard a 22-12 advantage—its largest of the match.
The Crusaders (1-6) scrapped back to pull within three, 26-23, but the Crimson took the last four points to take the game.
A 9-3 run midway through the opening frame helped the Crimson claim the early momentum and cruise to a 30-20 win. Turley-Molony and Trimble combined for five clutch kills down the stretch to give Harvard the one game to none lead.
HARVARD 3, RHODE ISLAND 2
Just half a day removed from its first five-game match of the season, Harvard went the distance again, defeating URI 3-2 (25-30, 30-28, 30-25, 20-30, 16-14) on Saturday afternoon.
After winning their first two contests of the New England Challenge against Holy Cross and BC in straight sets, the Rams (5-4) had the momentum coming into the match against the Crimson. But a young Harvard team displayed its grit, vanquishing URI despite trailing late in the decisive frame.
Though the Crimson jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the fifth game, the resurgent Rams attacked, going on a 10-4 run to establish a two-point cushion.