Women's Volleyball Opens Season with Three Losses

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Middle blocker Christina Cornelius rises for a spike against American. The junior earned all-tournament honors.

The Harvard women’s volleyball team will have to wait another weekend for a shot at its first win of the season.

The Crimson (0-3) hosted the Harvard Invitational at the Malkin Athletic Center over the weekend, settling for fourth place in the tournament after losses to Stony Brook, Sacred Heart, and American.

“Obviously, starting off the season with three losses was not what we were hoping for,” senior hitter Paige Kebe said. “But we are still in the process of integrating everyone in the team and finding their positions. Our lineups were all over the place, and I think we did a good job of being adaptable.”

Despite the result, Harvard saw excellent individual performances from several team leaders, including co-captain and blocker Christina Cornelius, who earned all-tournament honors with 13 blocks and 27 kills.

AMERICAN 3, HARVARD 1

Despite a first-set victory for Harvard, the Crimson fell off in the three ensuing frames, settling for a loss in the final match of the tournament.

American outside hitter Aleksandra Kazala dominated the offensive game for the Eagles, finishing with 25 kills off 39 total attempts. Harvard struggled much of the contest to stop the American offense, succeeding on only four blocks.

After the first set, the Crimson failed to keep pace, as the Eagles broke away with large leads at the end of sets. Only in the start of the last set did the hosts manage to hold onto a tight score before allowing a stronger American team to take charge.

SACRED HEART 3, HARVARD 2

Seeking a bounce-back victory Saturday afternoon, Harvard fell short in a narrow defeat against a fellow New England college.

“This was definitely a learning weekend,” Cornelius said. “We learned so much and focused on two things—resiliency and grit. We had some really great moments of that over the weekend and are heading in a good direction.”

Like Stony Brook, the Pioneers (2-4) already had one tournament under their belt before coming to Cambridge. Sacred Heart was also seeking its second win of the season before facing the Crimson.

The two teams traded set points in the first four games, leading to a critical tiebreaker. The back-and-forth play continued in the last set, as the Pioneers and Harvard were tied up five times during the frame.

However, Sacred Heart pulled away late, topped off by two kills to end the game. While the Pioneers had a lower hitting percentage and block totals than the Crimson, the visitors relied on slightly better dig totals and aces to edge their opponent.

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