After a season-opening 0-3 performance at the Hokie Invitational, the Harvard women’s volleyball team turned things around at this weekend’s Harvard Invitational, finishing the tournament 2-1 and grabbing second place.
In front of a boisterous home crowd at the Malkin Athletic Center on Friday night, the Crimson (2-4) routed Manhattan (1-6) in straight sets. On Saturday, Harvard swept Providence (1-12) in the afternoon but fell in three sets that evening to Northern Kentucky (9-1).
“One of our goals in practice this week was to speed up our offense and just everyone play together as a team,” said senior setter Beth Kinsella, who handed out 58 assists and recorded 13 digs this weekend. “[The Hokie Invitational] was challenging, but I think we really worked hard this week and were able to focus on those things in practice.”
Captain and outside hitter Taylor Docter, sophomore middle blocker Caroline Walters, and freshman outside hitter Kathleen Wallace each earned a spot on this weekend’s All-Tournament team.
Junior right side Erin Cooney, who missed the majority of last weekend’s tournament after injuring her finger in the Crimson’s opener, was back in action and finished the tournament with 11 kills and five digs.
NORTHERN KENTUCKY 3, HARVARD 0
Against the Norse on Saturday night, the Crimson lost three tight sets, 25-21, 25-21, 25-23.
“This type of fast offense with…the fast middles is something we’re not used to,” said Wallace, who recorded seven kills in the match. “Now that we’ve seen it, we can better adjust, [and] we know what to prepare for in practice.”
Northern Kentucky led throughout the first set, grabbing a 21-19 lead. Norse senior middle hitter Shelby Buschur then recorded three straight kills to give her team match point. And following two Harvard points, Buschur closed the set with another kill.
In the second, Northern Kentucky responded to an 18-13 deficit with a 7-0 run to take the lead, which the Norse never relinquished.
In the final set, Wallace put the Crimson in good position to win, notching a kill that put Harvard up 22-20. But Northern Kentucky came storming back with two straight kills and never gave up the lead again.
Walters led Harvard with nine kills. Kinsella had 17 assists, while sophomore outside hitter Kristen Casey had 14 digs.
HARVARD 3, PROVIDENCE 0
Earlier in the day, Harvard got a three-set win against Providence, 25-20, 25-13, 25-16.
Harvard went up, 7-2, in each of the first two sets and never trailed the rest of the way, grabbing a 2-0 lead. But in the third, the Crimson tailed 14-11 before closing the game on a 14-2 run.