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Crimson Stumbles in Final Match of Bryant Invitational

PEANUT BUTTER & SKELLY
Meredith H. Keffer

Shown here in earlier action, sophomore Teresa Skelly picked up 21 kills in Harvard’s first two matches at the Bryant Invitational, where it secured a 4-1 start to the season—the squad’s best opening record since 2001. The Crimson took a step back the next day with a loss to Maryland-Eastern Shore.

After a successful opening weekend in the Georgia State Invitational, the Harvard women’s volleyball team (4-2) had hopes for an even stronger showing this weekend.

On Friday evening at the Bryant Invitational, such dreams became reality, as the squad toppled both Holy Cross and Bryant. However, Saturday proved to be a different story, whose conclusion left the Crimson with a disappointing loss and a second 2-1 finish in as many weeks.

MARYLAND EASTERN SHORE 3, HARVARD 0

Despite Harvard’s stellar start in the first two games of the Invitational, a perfect finish was just not in the cards for the Crimson, which was blanked by the Hawks (the eventual tournament winner).

After falling behind in the opening set, Harvard was never able to recover and conceded losses of 25-18, 25-19, and 25-16, respectively.

“UMES came at us with a different style of attack,” co-captain Sandra Lynne Fryhofer said. “It took us a while to adjust ... and we felt like we were all working hard but just weren’t getting the job done.”

The numbers told the story of the game, with the Hawks recording a superb 18 kills in the first set, while Harvard only mustered five.

The second set was more even—each team posted nine kills—after the Crimson jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, before the Hawks rallied with a 7-1 run midway through the game to gather the momentum for a second-set victory.

The run was started by a trio of aces by Maryland Eastern Shore, which had only seven on the match. Harvard fought back in what would be the final set, leveling the playing field at 6-6, before the Hawks took a lead that it never lost.

The Crimson fell behind for good when the Hawks pulled ahead, 16-10, and won only six more points before losing the game and match, 25-16.

“We never really showed up [on Saturday], and we didn’t adapt to Maryland’s level of play,” co-captain Christine Wu said. “We didn’t play Harvard volleyball.”

HARVARD 3, BRYANT 1

Coming off a dominant win against the Crusaders, Harvard entered its second match of the night against Bryant, which was reeling from a 3-1 loss against Maryland Eastern Shore.

The Crimson took the first two sets handily, 25-17 and 25-22, respectively, before Bryant fought for life in the third, turning the tables for a 25-22 victory.

Although it started behind in the fourth set—no doubt reviving the memories of its past fourth-set woes—Harvard squashed any chance of a comeback in the game, claiming a final 25-19 score, secured by a couple of kills by freshman Kristen Casey and a kill from sophomore Teresa Skelly.

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