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In its opening weekend of its 2016 campaign, the Harvard women’s volleyball team played on quite a smaller stage than it did in last year’s finale: the NCAA tournament.
Although the MAC’s capacity doesn’t quite reach 8,000-plus spectators, this weekend’s contest followed a similar trajectory to its time on the national stage. After showing signs of promise in its first game against Siena (1-5), Georgia (6-0) uncovered areas of weakness in the conclusion of the Beantown Challenge, as the Crimson (1-1) went on the split its weekend slate.
GEORGIA 3, HARVARD 0
After dispatching Siena is three sets, Harvard got a taste of its own medicine in its last game of the weekend, as the Bulldogs swept the Crimson.
Georgia failed to drop a set in the Beantown Challenge, with its closest call coming in the second set of the Harvard tilt. A kill from freshman outside hitter Grace Roberts Burbank late in the set broke a 23-all tie and put the squad one point away from tying the match at one set apiece. But Georgia’s Maddie Lobenstein denied Harvard its set point with a kill of her own. The Bulldogs went on to win the next two points and steal away a close-fought set.
Lobenstein led the Bulldogs in kills with 13 on the day, with Megan Spencer trailing right behind with 10 of her own. No Crimson player exceeded six.
The Crimson was notably without senior Grace Weghorst, who is no longer on the roster due to lingering back issues. The Texas native last played on September 25th against Dartmouth and was shut down soon after.
Weghorst was an instrumental part of the Crimson’s 2014 campaign in which the team went on to win a share of the Ivy League for the first time in a decade. The outside hitter finished with 2.57 kills per set, second on the team behind co-captain Corinne Bain.
HARVARD 3, SIENA 0
The Crimson showed no sign of offseason rust in its opening contest, not letting the Saints eclipse 16 points in a single-set on its way to a straight-set victory.
Harvard featured a balanced, with five players registering at least seven kills, including sophomore Jocelyn Meyer, who notched a team-high eight. The Crimson only committed 13 attacking errors, compared to Siena’s 25.
Friday was the debut for Isabelle Tashima, who looks to take over Sindhu Vegesena ‘16, who started at libero for the Crimson in her junior and senior years. The Illinois native registered 11 digs in her opening stint.
–Staff writer Kurt T. Bullard can be reached at email@example.com.
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