In a historical night for captain outside hitter Taylor Docter, the Harvard women’s volleyball team (8-11, 5-3 Ivy) rallied from a first-set loss to beat Dartmouth, 3-1, on Friday night at the Malkin Athletic Center.
With an 8-4 lead in the fourth set, a Docter kill put the senior in a tie for 10th on the Crimson’s all-time career kill list.
“She has been developing her game all throughout college and hasn’t hit that wall,” Harvard coach Jennifer Weiss said. “She came in this year in season ready to go. She is a hard worker and she deserves it.”
After winning the first set, the Big Green (2-16, 1-7) spent most of the night chasing the Crimson, which ran away with the second set and never lost momentum. Harvard came out on top, 22-25, 25-13, 25-20, 25-20.
With the Crimson leading, 11-10, in the opening set, Dartmouth took control of the frame, going on a 12-4 run and eventually closing out the game.
But the first-set loss did not rattle Harvard. A block by freshman middle blocker Caroline Holte sparked a 17-5 run that gave the Crimson a decisive second-set victory. Docter contributed six digs and five kills in the set.
“[Dropping the first set] gave us more momentum for the second,” Docter said. “We were really frustrated, and it gave us a lot of fire to come out strong.”
Both teams made adjustments heading into the second set.
“We switched our matchup a little bit, and they did the same,” Weiss said. “But our ball control was better. Our goal was just to play good defense and transition it into a point.”
The Crimson held on to take the third, a back-and-forth set that featured 10 ties and five lead changes.
After the Big Green came from behind to tie the score at 20 in the fourth set, Harvard’s offense sealed the win. Junior right side Erin Cooney registered two consecutive kills to start a 5-0 run that culminated in the 10th kill of the evening for freshman outside hitter Kathleen Wallace.
The Crimson displayed balanced defense throughout the match, with Docter, junior defensive specialist Natalie Doyle, freshman setter Hannah Schmidt, and sophomore outside hitter Kristen Casey all registering double-digit digs.
Holte had a career-high nine blocks, surpassing her previous high of eight against Brown.
“I was pleased by the way we kept our composure and started attacking them the way we wanted to,” Weiss said. “We have been playing at a really great speed and a really great level. Overall, especially on defense, the team effort has been really solid.”
After losing in five sets at Dartmouth earlier in the season, Harvard saw improvement in its chemistry and offensive speed on Friday.