Crimson Splits Weekend, Finishes Fifth in Ivy League
Saturday night’s game against Princeton had all the drama needed for the perfect season finale.
Emotions ran high in the fifth set, as the Harvard women’s volleyball Senior Night was coming to a close and the 14-12 score had the Crimson just one point away from its underdog victory.
All it took was junior Sandra Lynne Fryhofer’s 13th kill of the night to provide Harvard with the happy ending it wanted.
“It was the perfect way to end our season,” senior Mikaelle Comrie said. “We have had a lot of long five-game matches that didn’t go our way, so it was nice to finally close one out on our last Senior Night.”
This weekend’s double-header against Penn (15-10, 11-2 Ivy) and the Tigers (13-11, 8-5) began with a disappointing three-set sweep by the Quakers, 25-23, 25-18, 25-23. But Friday night’s results were overshadowed the following evening, when the Crimson (9-17, 6-8) triumphed over Princeton for the first time in the four-year careers of both Comrie and co-captain Miyoko Pettit.
HARVARD 3, PRINCETON 2
A lack of team communication in the first set sent Harvard to an early deficit on Saturday against the Tigers, but according to Comrie, as Princeton began to pull ahead, 21-11, the Crimson finally heard the wake up call.
“At that point, we realized we had nothing to lose,” junior co-captain Anne Carroll Ingersoll said. “No matter what, we wanted to go into the second set with momentum. It could have gone either way [from there].”
After reconvening during a timeout, a string of eight unanswered points and consistent service from sophomore Taylor Docter helped Harvard hold off the Tigers and win the opening game, 26-24.
“We kept going one [point] at a time,” Crimson coach Jennifer Weiss said. “Those comebacks are hard to come by—I mean we’ve had one of those in the past—but to hold them on game point is huge.”
Harvard rode its wave of unanswered points into the second set, when it sprinted ahead, 5-0, and, after taking the Tigers point-for-point for the remainder of the game, defeated them, 25-21.
Princeton finally responded by tailoring its offensive formations to its biggest threat, junior middle blocker Cathryn Quinn, a change that allowed it to capture the third and fourth sets, 25-14 and 25-22, respectively.
“They got a run similar to what we got in the second game, and those are really hard to come back from,” Ingersoll said. “We’re also used to giving teams five games. Knowing you have a couple games ahead of you, it’s tough to mentally pull through for the win.”
For the eighth time this season, the Crimson found itself in the fifth set, but luckily for Harvard, the prior experience finally seemed to pay off.
After trading leads throughout the closing set, the score knotted at 11. The Crimson proved the class of 2011 deserved its recognition for the night when a kill by Comrie and several digs from Pettit in the final four points of the match helped Harvard’s offense close the books on the Tigers and the season.