In its last weekend of the season, the Harvard women’s volleyball team (10-16, 7-7 Ivy) dropped its match at Yale (18-5, 14-0) on Friday night but rebounded with a win at Brown (7-17, 3-11) on Saturday to finish the year .500 in conference play. The Crimson ended the season fifth in the Ivy League, while the Bulldogs went unbeaten and the Bears came in seventh.
This year’s season marked Harvard’s best conference record since 2009, and the team moved up one spot in the standings from last year’s sixth-place finish.
After Harvard coach Jennifer Weiss notched her 250th career win, she hit yet another big milestone on Saturday. The win against Brown gave Weiss her 100th Ivy League win.
“It’s nice to play for someone who you trust,” said sophomore outside hitter Kristen Casey. “She’s very motherly and caring, and I think that’s something that’s unique about her. We’re all very happy for her…and glad that we could be a part of it.”
HARVARD 3, BROWN 1
Leading the Bears 2-1 with a 24-21 edge in the fourth, the Crimson was poised to finish off its season with a win. But Brown did not go away without a fight.
Harvard gave up a 4-0 run, including three straight kills, and neither team could pull away and win the set easily. Finally a service error and an attack error by the Bears helped Harvard pull away to take the set and the match, 25-21, 21-25, 25-20, 29-27.
“It speaks to the dedication of our team and to the seniors for leading us through that very challenging time,” said freshman outside hitter Kathleen Wallace. “It’s a very high-pressure situation.”
The Crimson and Brown split the first two sets, with Harvard dropping the second after winning the opening frame. In the third, a kill by captain outside hitter Taylor Docter gave Harvard a 4-3 lead, and the Crimson did not trail again in the set.
“We lost the second game; we didn’t play well,” Casey said. “But I think the whole time we kind of knew that we were in control and that we were going to end up winning.”
Sophomore middle blocker Caroline Walters had a big game for Harvard, recording five blocks and a game-high 14 kills.
“She’s been playing amazing all season,” said Casey, who led the Crimson with 21 digs. “She’s been a huge part of our team blocking and offensively. She’s also, I think, stepped into a leadership role this season that she didn’t have last season.”
Fittingly for Harvard, the two double-doubles for the team went to seniors Docter and setter Beth Kinsella in their last games in Crimson uniforms. Docter and Kinsella registered 12 kills and 11 digs and a team-high 24 assists and 12 digs, respectively.
“Beth and Taylor have been such an important part of our team, and it’s going to be tough without them,” Casey said. “It’s a nice memory to have as their last game.”
YALE 3, HARVARD 0