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As Columbia fans rushed to the court at Levien Gym on Friday night to celebrate its most recent upset, the Harvard women’s volleyball team could see its hold on second place in the Ivy slipping away.
“It definitely stung, but I think what we can take away from that is that we can never be complacent,” sophomore outside hitter Kathleen Wallace said. “We need to go in with the mentality that it is our job to win the game.”
The Crimson (14-9, 9-5 Ivy) had been fending off a surging University of Penn team, which, as of Friday afternoon, had won six in a row to hold a tie for second place in the league. With just two games left in the season coming into the weekend, Harvard needed to win out in order to ensure a tie for second.
The Lions, however, had different plans. Despite its record, Columbia (6-16, 4-9 Ivy) dominated the game, taking advantage of the Crimson’s sloppy play to win the match in four sets.
In the first set, the home team started off quickly to take a 5-0 lead, and rounded out the set with a 13-6 run to decisively go up 1-0. Although it trailed its opponents by four points in the second set, it utilized another 5-0 run to take back the lead to win the frame.
Harvard fought back in the third, using a 5-0 run of its own to start its comeback. All was for naught, however, as its opponents jumped out to an 8-1 lead in the fourth and never looked back.
Wallace and freshman setter Corinne Bain continued their strong play, contributing 16 and 12 kills apiece. Bain also chipped in 24 assists, and rounded out her day with 13 digs, notching her sixth triple-double this season. Despite their excellent play, the team committed 28 errors on offense, with five players responsible for four or more of the errors.
Much like its offense, the service play for Harvard struggled, committing 11 errors throughout the match. Comparatively, the Lions only gave up two points during their serves, giving them an enormous advantage during the game.
“Columbia really slowed down the game and prevented us from getting into its system,” co-captain Natalie Doyle said. “The team was eventually able to bring it together, but it was too late to win the set.”
The home team got strong offensive play from Katarina Jovicic and Bailey Springer, who each contributed 10 kills. Jennifer Petrovich pitched in a double-double, notching 22 assists and 13 digs.
“We can never expect something to go in our favor. We have to work for it to be in our favor,” Wallace said. “It’s definitely something that we took away from the match, and it’s something that we can apply to next season.”
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