The penultimate weekend of play for the Harvard women’s volleyball team was marked by both excitement and disappointment as the Crimson found itself on both ends of upsets.
On the road for the third consecutive weekend, Harvard (12-9, 7-5 Ivy League) pulled off a surprise victory against conference-leading Yale on Friday, but fell to last-place Brown in five sets on Saturday night.
“It was the highest of highs and and the lowest of lows this week,” senior hitter Paige Kebe said. “Overall, we are not feeling great this weekend, but it was great to beat Yale on their home court, but unfortunately that was negated by our loss to Brown. I don’t think we took the Brown game as seriously as we should have.”
The Crimson now has the slimmest of chances to earn a share of the Ivy League title this weekend, as it must beat Princeton and Penn while relying on a slew of favorable results from its other foes in the Ancient Eight. The conference title will most likely fall into the hands of either the Bulldogs and Princeton, who both currently own a 9-3 record in conference play.
BROWN 3, HARVARD 2
Despite dominant play in the first and third frames, Harvard failed to close out the weekend sweep, falling to the Bears (7-16, 2-10 Ivy), 13-15, in the tiebreaker round in Providence, R.I.
Sophomore hitter Grace Roberts Burbank carried Harvard offensively, executing 22 kills and leading the team in hitting percentage at .375. The San Francisco, Calif. native is currently second on the team in kills for the season, having amassed 204 in total.
Roberts Burbank was matched on the opposite side of the court by Brown freshman hitter Gabrielle Moriconi, who delivered a team-high 18 kills.
The Bears rookie hitter was held in the second and fourth sets, but her team still came away with a victory in each frame thanks to gritty defensive play and a number of execution mistakes by the Crimson.
In the second set, Brown notched 40 attempts on offense but was only successful on eight of those hits. The fourth stanza saw the Bears finish with just a 6.8 attacking percentage mark.
Nevertheless, Harvard had similar struggles on offense in both of those sets. In its 20-25 defeat in the second period, the Crimson committed a game-high nine errors and landed just ten kills on 41 total attempts. The fourth set started off more favorably for Harvard, but the team sustained a defensive breakdown after amassing a 23-21 lead, as the Bears to clawed their way back with four consecutive points to win the frame.
With the game pushed to a 15-point tiebreaker set, offensive leaders Roberts Burbank and Moriconi each put crucial points on the board. However, despite landing five set kills compared to Moriconi’s four, Roberts Burbank was unable to rally Harvard to victory, as the team fell, 13-15, in the tie-breaking period.
The win was just Brown’s second against an Ivy opponent this season,and marks only the third victory for the Bears this season at the Pizzitola Sports Center.
“We definitely did not bring that same mentality from the Yale game,” junior hitter Jocelyn Meyer said, “We dipped down to a level that we haven’t been playing at this season, and we weren’t able to bring that same fire, consistency, and aggressive fearlessness.”
Volleyball Faces Dartmouth With First Place At StakeLast time the Harvard women’s volleyball team played Dartmouth, on Sept. 25, the Ivy League landscape was quite different.
Women's Volleyball Looks to Snap Losing Streak in Ohio TourneyAfter tallying three tough losses to open the season, the Harvard women’s volleyball team will battle for its first win of the year this weekend as it takes on three Midwest schools. The Crimson will travel to Dayton, Ohio as an invitee to the Holiday Inn Invitational.
Women's Volleyball Takes Boston College in Five-Set Thriller
Women’s Volleyball Splits Against Princeton, Penn
Celebrating Seniors, Women's Volleyball Closes Season with Weekend Split