Women’s Volleyball Suffers Pair of Ivy Losses in Trip to New York

Block Party
Junior outside hitter Mindie Mabry and senior middle blocker Sope Adeleye jump up for a block.
Harvard went into Columbus Day Weekend with new-found optimism: the squad was coming off a 3-0 win against Brown (9-6, 1-4 Ivy) that snapped an eight game losing streak and garnered the team its first league win of the season. Despite the team’s success in Rhode Island, this past weekend the Crimson (3-11, 1-4) only managed to win one set in two games in New York, falling to Columbia on Friday and Cornell on Saturday. As such, the team ended its stretch on the road with a 1-4 record in Ivy League play.


Both Harvard and Columbia (10-5, 3-2) went into Friday’s game hoping to ride the momentum from each of their previous games — first wins for both teams in Ivy League play this season — into another victory. In that effort, only Columbia was successful.

On offense, the Crimson looked like a different squad than the team that had swept Brown days prior. It performed a lack-luster kill percentage of .099, significantly lower than its impressive .343 kill percentage against Brown.

While the squad limited its errors to 12 against Brown, Harvard conceded a whopping 21 errors against Columbia.


Columbia just bested the Crimson in the first set, eking out a 25-23 win. After the first set, Columbia significantly cleaned up its play in the next two sets, limiting its errors and improving the precession of its kills. Harvard lost the second set by five points and the third by 10.

The Crimson finally managed to bring its kill percentage above .100 by the third set, albeit much too late to salvage a single game. Sophomore Jaimie Rao led Harvard’s attack with 10 kills, her third match with a double-digit mark in the category. Freshman Katie Vorhies also contributed on offense, putting up five kills. In the back court, junior lebaro Sandra Zeng had 10 digs.


The Crimson concluded its road trip with a loss on Saturday in Ithaca, where the team faced a dominant Cornell (12-2, 5-0). Going into the game, the Big Red was undefeated in Ivy League play and looking to extend its winning streak to double digits.

Coming off of an unsuccessful offensive performance the day before, Harvard was uncharacteristically passive on offense in the first set. The squad attempted only 28 attacks, its least in any set of the weekend, resulting in only seven kills. Meanwhile, Cornell’s kill percentage of .500 propelled the Big Red to a 25-17 victory in the first set.

The Crimson offense appeared ressorected in the second set. The team fired a total of 35 attempts at net to improve its kill percentage to .286, its best yet of the weekend. The Crimson’s aggressiveness enabled the squad to get within two points of Cornell at the close of the second set.

Harvard finally outperformed Cornell in the third set to force the game into a fourth. Zeng dazzled her opponents at the service line, serving up two consecutive aces early on in the third set to finish the night with a total of four. Zeng was also dominant in the back court, leading Cornell with 12 digs.

In this pivotal third set, Harvard prevailed by recording three more kills than Cornell and conceding one fewer error.

Errors, however, would ultimately lead to the Crimson’s downfall in both of its matchups in New York. In the final set of the weekend, Harvard conceded seven errors in a 25-20 loss. Cornell won four of its five final points due to Crimson errors committed.

Despite the loss, the Crimson’s attackers contributed aggressive performances at the net. Vorhies led Harvard’s offense, recording a career-high 14 kills. Junior Mindie Mabry complemented her teammate’s performance with 12 kills, recording double digits in the category in her fifth match this season. Co-captain junior Evelyn Gray supported her teammates’ performances with nine kills.

The Crimson will have two more opportunities to muscle its way up the league standings this upcoming weekend, when they host Princeton (8-6, 4-1) on Friday at 7 p.m. and Penn (8-6, 1-4) on Saturday at 5 p.m.

— Staff writer Ema Schumer can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @emaschumer.