Rookie Setter Bain Powers Women's Volleyball Past Bulldogs

Mark Kelsey

Freshman setter Corinne Bain recorded her fourth triple-double of the season on Saturday to set a new school record. Harvard defeated Yale in a tense, five-set match to snap the Bulldogs’ 23-game Ivy win streak.

Growing up in Manhattan Beach, Calif., freshman Corinne Bain didn’t exactly target Harvard as a place to play in college, at least not until high school. With Pac-12 options available, Bain assumed her career would take her a bit inland, but not to the opposite coast.

“I come from an area that breeds a bunch of talented volleyball players, because a lot of parents played in the Olympics,” said the 5’11” setter, who currently starts for the Crimson women’s volleyball team. “We’re around the beach all the time, so we’re always playing volleyball.”

However, after a visit to Cambridge as a high school sophomore, Bain began to consider the possibility of playing in the Ivy League.

“I had my heart set on Berkeley since eighth grade,” Bain said. “But then I realized that I wanted to use these four years for more than just volleyball, and wanted the experience of living across the country for college.”

On her East Coast trip, Bain also visited some other Ancient Eight schools, but remembers Harvard as the standout program.


“I’ve seen a lot of people go through top-notch programs in California,” Bain said. “I realized there is so much more opportunity for a career, and more advanced career paths coming out of an Ivy League school. The coaches’ mentalities are different, the interests of the girls on the team, everything was convincing. I know there is more to life than a sport, and I wanted to make sure I could have the best of both worlds in college.”

Since arriving at Harvard in August, Bain has left her mark on the court, recording her fourth triple-double of the year, the highest in Harvard’s history, on Saturday night to help the Crimson defeat Yale, 3-2. Entering the match, Yale held a 23-match Ivy League win streak, and hadn’t lost to the Crimson since 2004.

“We established that we had nothing to lose going into the game,” Bain said. “It wouldn’t make or break our season, but it was something that everyone wanted more than anything because they hadn’t been beaten for so long. We knew we were the Ivy League team that could do it. After we won the first game, we felt like we were in control. We weren’t lucky. We were running our system, it was working, and we were shutting Yale down.”

And as a rookie, Bain wasn’t worried about Yale’s legacy going into the game like some of her teammates.

“I wasn’t here the last two years, so I had no control over what they did then,” Bain said. “I think I was naive in the sense that I hadn’t seen this history of Yale, so I went out aggressively and unafraid and that definitely worked to my advantage.”

Bain was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week twice this season, and Player of the Week once. She holds the Harvard record for single-season service aces already, and is first in the Ivy league in service aces per set and second in service aces overall. She also ranks sixth among Ivy League players in assists.

Bain has also proven a well-rounded threat on the court. Besides her performance as a setter, Bain has contributed from the backcourt, especially recently against Dartmouth and Yale when she averaged 14 digs per game. Her career-high kills tally came at Brown, with 15 to her name, as she showed herself to be an offensive power, as well.

Head coach Jennifer Weiss is not surprised at the early success of her recruit, whom she noticed during Bain’s sophomore year of high school.

“[Bain] has not only been a great volleyball player, but a great person on and off the court,” Weiss said. “She had opportunities to [be successful] other places, but she wanted to be at Harvard. I knew her background in playing and her competitive nature. I thought it would be what it was, but I’m overly full of joy for her in terms of it fitting and everything working so well. ”

Bain’s teammates have noticed her accomplishments as well, recognizing the responsibility that falls to the team’s setter, regardless of her age.

“She has honestly contributed so much,” said sophomore outside hitter Kathleen Wallace. “She is a very competitive player and always holds us accountable for our actions. On the court, she is a big leader because she makes the decisions that affect our offense.”

Although only a freshman, Bain has lofty expectations for herself and for the Crimson.

“I really want to win Ivy League at least one year and go to the NCAA tournament,” Bain said. “I think it would be amazing to upset a huge opponent. Anything can happen any night. I want to beat them and show that Harvard Athletics pride.”


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