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The Harvard women’s volleyball team snapped its three-game Ivy losing streak Friday night with a 3-1 victory at Yale (24-30, 30-16, 30-27, 30-19).
The Crimson then secured the weekend road sweep by defeating Brown 3-1 (22-30, 30-27, 30-23, 30-24) on Saturday.
“We got that team feeling back this weekend,” junior outside hitter Nilly Schweitzer said. “It was the first time this season that we all were on the same page.”
Harvard coach Jennifer Weiss juggled the lineup this weekend, moving co-captain Allison Bendush from the Libero position to outside hitter. Bendush did not disappoint, registering 31 kills and 45 digs on the weekend. Senior Nathalie Miller replaced Bendush at Libero, contributing 32 digs.
“It’s a less glamorous position [than outside hitter],” Miller said. “But I’m glad to play it because it’s such an important part of the team.”
Harvard (6-12, 5-3 Ivy) remains in fourth place in the league, two-and-a-half games behind Ivy leader Penn.
“We’re not thinking Ivy title,” Miller said. “We’re just thinking win the rest of our games and see what happens.”
Harvard 3, Brown 1
The Bears (3-12, 2-5) knocked the Crimson back on its heels in the first game, but Harvard responded to take the next three games—and the match—in impressive fashion.
Harvard never got in its rhythm in the first game—posting only eight kills—as Brown dominated play en route to a 30-22 victory.
“We definitely have trouble getting started in matches,” Schweitzer said. “It takes a game for us to start gelling and get our confidence.”
But the Crimson responded when it needed to most. Staring a 2-0 deficit in the face, Harvard fought off a persistent Brown attack to take the close second game, 30-27.
In an anticlimactic finish, Harvard soundly defeated the Bears in games three and four by comfortable seven- and six-point margins.
“It was really important for us not to let [the match] get to five games,” Miller said. “We’ve had trouble in the fifth game, so it was really key for us to end it in four.”
Schweitzer recorded 14 kills and 11 digs for her eleventh double-double of the season. Bendush added a double-double, leading the Crimson in both kills (15) and digs (21).
Freshman setter Sarah Cebron contributed three aces on the day and had a total of six for the weekend.
Harvard 3, Yale 1
Friday night’s matchup against the Bulldogs (11-6, 3-4) saw two very different Crimson teams take the floor.
Harvard stumbled out of the gate in the first game, converting on only 10 percent of its kill attempts en route to a 30-24 loss.
“Earlier in the season when we dropped that first game, there was a huge letdown and everyone would lose their confidence,” Schweitzer said. “This weekend we just said ‘We messed up, but we’ll pull through.’”
The Crimson pulled through in a big way, storming back to take the next three games in impressive fashion.
Harvard routed the Bulldogs 30-16 in the second game, cashing in on 37 percent of its kill attempts.
The Crimson maintained its offensive prowess in game three, but Yale stepped up its performance as well. The Bulldogs kept the game close, but Harvard proved too explosive as it took the only close game of the match 30-27.
The Crimson came out in the fourth game determined to close out the match, jumping all over Yale 30-19.
Bendush led Harvard with 16 kills and 24 digs. Schweitzer also recorded a double-double, contributing 15 kills and 20 digs.
—Staff writer Michael R. James can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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