The Harvard women’s volleyball team had a disappointing weekend, falling to both Yale (12-5, 6-2 Ivy) and Brown (5-14, 3-6), as the squad continued to struggle in Ivy League play.
Friday night, the Crimson (7-15, 2-8) traveled to New Haven, Conn., losing in straight sets to a strong Bulldogs side. Harvard was unable to cope with Yale’s aggressive play and, according to the players, did not stick to its game plan for much of the weekend.
Following the tough loss, Harvard had a much-improved display against Brown Saturday afternoon. The Crimson was able to take a game but found itself unable to pick up its third Ivy League win of the season in Providence, R.I.
One of the highlights of the weekend was the significant contribution from the team’s freshmen. Miyoko Pettit, Emily Harburg, and Mikaelle Comrie all gained considerable playing time and vital experience in the two matches.
With just two more weeks left in the season, Harvard is hoping to finish the season strong. Next weekend, the team faces Penn and Princeton, with both teams competing for the Ivy League crown. According to captain Suzie Trimble, the Crimson would love to play the role of spoiler.
“Everyone is beatable in the Ivy League,” Trimble said. “We’re looking forward to those games.”
BROWN 3, HARVARD 1
Harvard and Brown were involved in an exciting fourth game, which included eight lead changes and 12 score ties, and the Crimson was almost able to send the match into a deciding fifth set. However, three straight kills ended the match for the Bears, 3-1 (18-30, 30-18, 30-23, 31-29).
A few points earlier, Harvard made a service error on game point.
“A few key errors cost us,” Trimble said. “It was us beating ourselves.”
Trimble, who hit .333 in the match, finished with 16 kills.
Harvard came out firing to start the match, taking the first game decisively. The Crimson out-hit Brown .273 to .025 in the opening game, which included a 16-1 Harvard run.
Sophomore Katherine Kocurek had 15 digs in the game and finished with 29 in the match.
“After a tough loss [against Yale], we came out solid,” head coach Jennifer Weiss said. “We executed the game plan well.”
Traveling to Providence, the Crimson was hoping to defeat the Bears for the second time this season. Earlier this month, Harvard downed Brown, 3-1, at home. And after the dominant first game, it looked as if the match might play out in a similar fashion.
However, the Bears went on a run in the second game, taking the momentum and building a 20-9 lead.
Brown did not look back. It took the second game, 30-18, won the third, 30-23, and then was just able to hold on despite the Crimson’s solid effort in game four.
Sophomore Lily Durwood finished the match with 51 assists and 11 digs. Seniors Trimble, Laura Mahon, and Mimi Hanley all registered double-digit kills.
YALE 3, HARVARD 0
Harvard continued to have a tough time against rival Yale, which used a 3-0 (30-22, 30-21, 30-18) victory to bolster its run at the Ivy League title.
The Bulldogs played solid defense through all three sets and served very aggressively, puttin the Crimson players back on their heels the entire match.
“They served us off the court,” Weiss said.
Yale was strong in all aspects, finishing with nine team blocks and hitting an impressive .311 for the match.
The Bulldogs’ .468 hitting percentage in the first game was even more striking. Yale set the tone early and jumped out to a 14-7 lead in the first game, forcing Harvard to take a timeout and regroup.
The Crimson, however, was unable to change the momentum, and the Bulldogs went on to take the first game, 30-22.
Game two was close until a 9-2 run by Yale gave the Bulldogs a 23-13 lead.
Every time Harvard threatened to get back into the match, Yale countered with a string of points. The Bulldogs’ aggressive style never allowed the Crimson to get settled into its gameplan.
“They really played at us,” said Trimble, who finished the match with six kills and five digs.
Kocurek picked up a match-high 18 digs. Mahon and junior Kathryn McKinley led the team offensively with seven kills each.