They say that all good things must come to an end. The Harvard women’s volleyball team found that out the hard way this weekend, as its three-game winning streak came to a screeching halt with straight-set losses to both Princeton and Penn.
“It was a rough weekend,” said captain and outside hitter Taylor Docter. “We came in maybe a little overconfident from our winning streak. I just don’t think we showed up the same way that we have recently. We let the teams we were playing control the pace of the match instead of us.”
Early deficits in the two road matches proved insurmountable for the Crimson (8-13, 5-5 Ivy) as it took on its Ivy rivals, the Quakers (11-9, 6-3 Ivy) and the Tigers (11-9, 8-2 Ivy).
“We didn’t get a lead ahead of either team, so we were constantly fighting back,” said freshman middle blocker Caroline Holte. “Rather than taking the position of the aggressor, we were taking a passive position. You never want to be put in that role.”
Holte attributes the defeats to an overall lack of cohesiveness and focus during the weekend.
“Our mentality is that we need to focus on our side before we focus on our competitors’ side,” Holte said. “I think we got nervous and forgot how to play within our system and trust the other players. We became individuals rather than honed in as a team. I don’t necessarily think it was how Princeton and Penn adjusted to beat us; I think we really beat ourselves.”
PRINCETON 3, HARVARD 0
A week after four Harvard teams lost to the Tigers, the Crimson volleyball team found itself in a similar struggle against second-place Princeton on Saturday.
The squads played a close second set, swapping leads four times and giving the Crimson multiple opportunities to even up the match, but the Tigers prevailed, 29-27, after an ace by outside hitter Sydney Brombai and a kill by outside hitter Chelsea Parker.
The second-set win gave Princeton—which held off a late 5-0 Harvard run to take the first game, 25-20—a 2-0 lead over Harvard that it did not relinquish for the remainder of the match.
Sophomore setter Ginny Willis, the current league leader in assists, spearheaded the Tigers’ effort against the Crimson, notching a double-double with 42 assists and 10 digs.
Following senior setter Beth Kinsella’s ace, Harvard briefly took a lead in the third set, 10-8, but Princeton matched the Crimson point for point and eventually took the lead to win the set, 25-22, and hand Harvard its second loss of the weekend.
“It was the small things, like missed serves and not being as disciplined on our defense as we should have,” Docter said. “That’s what is so frustrating about losing both games. It never feels good to walk away from a match saying that you should have won or you could have won, but that’s kind of how it feels; we beat ourselves, essentially.”
Docter led the Crimson’s offensive effort with 15 kills while sophomore outside hitter Kristen Casey brought up the defensive end with 13 digs.
With her performance, Docter tallied her 944th kill, moving the captain into 9th overall in kills in Harvard history.