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In Her Senior Season, Harvard Women's Volleyball's Ashley Wang Makes Triple-Doubles History

Back in 2021, then-sophomore setter/hitter Ashley Wang strikes the ball in Harvard's matchup against Austin Peay, where the Crimson lost 3-0.
Back in 2021, then-sophomore setter/hitter Ashley Wang strikes the ball in Harvard's matchup against Austin Peay, where the Crimson lost 3-0. By Owen A. Berger
By Lauren K. Choy, Contributing Writer

Ashley Wang recorded her sixth triple-double of the season on Oct. 6 as Harvard women’s volleyball (11-5, 4-3 Ivy League) took on Princeton in its 13th game of the season. An athlete that scores double figures in three or more of five statistical categories— aces, kills, digs, blocks, assists — posts a triple-double. Wang is now one triple-double shy of setting the school record, meaning she had double-figures.

Standout performances like these have become common for Wang, as she currently has the season of her career.

From the very start of the season, Wang has dominated on the court for Harvard volleyball. At the Harvard Invitational that started the Crimson’s season, Wang made Harvard history, becoming the first volleyball player to record two triple-doubles in one day against University of New Hampshire (11-8, 1-3 American East) and Holy Cross (3-15, 0-9 Patriot League).

Wang has also been named Ivy League Player of the Week for the weeks of Sept. 4 and Oct. 9 — both a stunning and respectable feat.

“Ashley is unique in that she can hit and set together, and hitting and setting is something that not many women in the country are doing right now at the Division I volleyball level,” head coach Jennifer Weiss said.

It is clear that this season, whether it be through her impressive triple-double performances, her ability to both hit and set, or her leadership and energy, Wang has been giving it her all on the court,” Weiss explained.“All those things that she brings on the court are contagious.”

Wang’s senior season has been about making the most of the time that she has left. Despite her great success this season, the prior three seasons with the Crimson have not been as seamlessly put-together.

Throughout previous seasons with Harvard volleyball, Wang struggled with a series of different injuries, and she explained that it was a “struggle learning how to give back to the team while being on the sidelines and not being able to actively participate in volleyball practices or games.”

Wang, however, persevered through the injuries and did not let that limit her ability to contribute to the team.

Weiss noticed Ashley’s efforts even when she was injured, remarking that Wang “stayed engaged all that time even when she wasn't on the floor. And I think that's paying off right now and she's scoring a lot of points in each rotation. She touches every second ball. It's just really awesome to have this opportunity for her after what she's been through.”

Now that Wang is finally healthy and able to play to her full potential, she is taking advantage of every moment she has left.

“Like Coach Weiss has said, it's been a long time coming for being able to play finally, and having all the pieces line up,” she reflected.

Despite her outstanding individual performances, Wang’s overall goal for the season is not centered around her own success but that of her team’s. Wang, along with the rest of the team, hopes to win the Ivy League Championship this year.

“Everyone's super excited for this season and has been planning to put their all into this season, give everything we got, in order to hopefully win that championship or have the best season we can have,” Wang adds.

And that has definitely been the case with the Crimson thus far. With nine games left to play before the Ivy League Tournament and a current record of 11-5, Harvard volleyball has high hopes and expectations.

On Sept. 30, the Crimson lost 3-0 to Cornell (5-11, 3-4 Ivy League), but rather than letting it be a setback, the team saw it as an opportunity to learn and improve. “We will bounce back from it, and we learned from it for sure,” Coach Weiss elaborated.

Since the loss against Cornell, Harvard volleyball surged back and defeated Princeton (9-7, 6-2) and the University of Pennsylvania (3-15, 1-7) in back-to-back games in early October. Though Harvard has since lost to Yale (12-3, 7-0) and Brown (14-3, 5-2) in a pair of 0-3 sets, the Crimson will try to redeem itself in an Ancient Eight rival Dartmouth (6-10, 3-4) this Saturday.

The wins over the long weekend were an all-around team effort. Against Princeton, the Crimson dominated on the court. Senior Katie Vorhies had 15 posted kills and junior Rocky Aguirre led the team with 31 assists. The next day, Harvard volleyball swept Penn with the support of first-year Ryleigh Patterson, who had six block assists and one solo block.

The Crimson’s success can be attributed not only to their immeasurable talent but also their strong connections and teamwork.

“Harvard volleyball is going to be your extended family,” coach Weiss emphasized.

“I have known Coach Weiss for a long time now, probably over eight years, since sophomore year of high school,” Wang reflected. “She was such a role model to me — someone I can always talk to and look up to.”

As Wang finishes her last season with Harvard volleyball, she noted that “this team, and Harvard women’s volleyball, has meant the world to me and has changed my life exponentially. So I hope that when I leave, I leave that same mark on my teammates, the coaches, and the team to come in.”

Next up, Wang will lead the Crimson in a Saturday evening matchup against the Big Green on Saturday Oct. 21 at 5:00 p.m. EST. The game will be streamed on ESPN+.

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