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The Harvard women’s volleyball team fell to a tough Cornell squad on Saturday at Newman Arena, suffering its first Ivy League defeat 3-1 (30-24, 26-30, 30-21, 30-28).
The night before, the Crimson (4-10, 3-1 Ivy) recorded its second 3-0 win of the year at Columbia, taking the one-sided contest 30-20, 30-21, 30-28.
Junior outside hitter Nilly Schweitzer registered 33 kills and 18 digs on the weekend.
Reigning Ivy League Player of the Year Kaego Ogbechie sat out the Columbia game resting her injured knee, but started against the Big Red and finished with 15 kills.
Cornell 3, Harvard 1
Harvard failed to capitalize on an opportunity take sole possession of first place in the Ivy League against Cornell (13-1, 4-0)—a team that had won 11 straight matches and had not dropped a game over its past four matches.
“We weren’t able to step it up when we needed to,” Schweitzer said.
After dropping the first game 30-24, the Crimson fought back to take the next game 30-26.
“Every point counted,” Schweitzer said. “Both sides knew it was going to come down to a few points.”
Unfortunately for Harvard, those few points went to the Big Red, which managed to take the third game 30-21 and the fourth 30-28 in a nail-biter.
Schweitzer led the Crimson with 16 kills, while senior outside hitter Nathalie Miller added 13.
Junior setter Kim Gould had another solid game with 54 assists and 15 digs, while co-captain Allison Bendush recorded a match-high 20 digs.
Despite the loss, the team’s outlook remains bright.
“I feel like from this week on we’ll have a vast improvement,” Ogbechie said. “There are a few things missing that we just need to make happen. There’s no more time to waste.”
Harvard 3, Columbia 0
Pinpoint hitting and crisp passing enabled Harvard to jump out to an early lead against Columbia (0-11, 0-2) and coast to a straight-game win.
Columbia kept the third game close throughout before finally succumbing to a superior Crimson squad by a two-point margin.
Harvard was never really challenged in the first two games, cruising to nine- and ten-point victories.
After opening with a smoking .607 hitting percentage in the first game, Harvard kept the pressure on the Lions, finishing at .417.
Schweitzer led the charge with 17 kills and 10 digs, recording her seventh double-double of the year .
“Offensively, we really handled them,” Schweitzer said. “Their block was not that strong and everyone was able to take advantage of it.”
Gould provided the opportunities for earth-shaking spikes en route to a match-high 44 assists.
Defensively, Gould and freshman setter Sarah Cebron chipped in with seven digs each.
Despite the result, the team was cautious not to read too much into its lopsided win.
“We played at a lot slower pace,” Gould said. “It is important to play at your own pace communication-wise, and we didn’t do that.”
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