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Despite forcing a decisive fifth set, the Harvard women’s volleyball team (7-5, 0-2 Ivy) fell to Princeton (9-5, 2-0), 3-2, on Friday night. The Crimson quickly fell behind by two games to the Tigers but came back in the third and fourth sets to level the playing field. The fifth-set effort proved to be insufficient, and Harvard ultimately lost, 25-13, 25-21, 21-25, 23-25, and 15-9.
The Crimson was coming off a defeat by Dartmouth in its opening Ivy League match as well as the loss of its junior setter, Beth Kinsella, who is likely out for the remainder of the season with a hand injury. Sophomore Natalie Doyle, who had only seen playing time on the back row as a defensive specialist, stepped into Kinsella’s position and posted 51 assists in her first match.
After dropping the first two games, Harvard, led by freshman Kristen Casey, regained control of the match. Casey recorded 11 kills in the third set alone and ensured that the Crimson would not be blanked in its second Ivy League matchup. Junior Taylor Docter took the reins in the fourth set, contributing five kills to help Harvard come back from a 16-6 deficit. Docter finally put the Crimson up, 22-21, and posted two of her five kills to seal the set.
Harvard would not have its Cinderella ending, however, as its comeback effort finished with a 15-9 loss in the decisive fifth frame.
Docter had a match-high 18 kills and four blocks, while Casey and sophomore Erin Cooney had 11 and 10 kills, respectively. In addition to her 51 assists, Doyle also contributed 16 digs in the loss.
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