With back-to-back wins this weekend at Cornell (6-12, 2-5 Ivy) and Columbia (8-8, 3-4 Ivy), the Harvard women’s volleyball team (7-11, 4-3 Ivy) jumped into a tie for third place in the Ivy League.
This weekend’s strong showing against the Lions and the Big Red was in large part due to the Crimson’s balance and chemistry.
“I thought we all worked really well together,” said captain outside hitter Taylor Docter, who had 35 kills on the weekend. “I thought everyone did a fantastic job and really took care of their own job on the court and then it kind of came together. We all meshed really well.”
After starting the season 3-10 and 0-2 in the Ivy League, Harvard has now won four of its last five contests, all against Ivy League opponents, to turn its season around. This was the Crimson’s first weekend sweep of the season.
“Taking a weekend sweep is one of the best feelings,” Docter said. “I think it can only help us from here on out.”
HARVARD 3, COLUMBIA 0
Each set against the Lions was close, but the Crimson found a way to close out each frame, winning in straight sets, 25-23, 25-22, 25-20, in New York on Saturday.
Nine kills in the third set by Docter helped Harvard comfortably close out a successful weekend, but not every set came so easily for the Crimson.
“It was a really fun game,” Docter said. “I think [freshman setter] Hannah [Schmidt] and [senior setter] Beth [Kinsella] both set lights out which made my job really easy.
“[Sophomore outside hitter] Kristen Casey and [junior defensive specialist] Natalie Doyle’s passing were absolutely fantastic,” she added. “I had a great game, but I thought of it as due to how well everybody else was doing; that made my job really easy.”
With Harvard trailing 14-9 in the first set, it appeared unlikely that the Crimson would escape New York with a victory in straight sets.
But the Crimson fought back to win the first set and rarely trailed for the rest of the match.
“Even when the games are tight, if we were down by a couple points, we never felt like we weren’t going to win,” Casey said.
The second set was tight all the way, but after two consecutive Columbia points cut Harvard’s lead to 23-22, a Docter kill gave the Crimson a match point. Harvard converted and took a commanding 2-0 lead.
Earlier this season the Crimson struggled closing out matches, but Harvard’s strong play in recent matches has boosted the team’s confidence at the end of sets.