Photo of Taylor Docter courtesy of Gil Talbot.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Freshman Taylor Docter led three Crimson players in double-digit kills as Harvard defeated Colgate, 3-2, Friday night in its season opener in front 505 rowdy fans. The Crimson won the final two sets to top the Raiders , 23-25, 25-18, 17-25, 25-23 and 15-13, and improve to 1-0 on the season.
"This evening was a great way to start the season," head coach Jen Weiss said. "It was a great a team effort. We were able to execute a lot of the things we worked on during preseason. Lily was able to set up several players tonight and Taylor had a great collegiate debut. Our middle blockers were again on the mark and Wu did a wonderful job leading our defensive system."
Docter registered 18 kills and served up three aces in her collegiate debut. Sophomore Anne Carroll Ingersoll, last year’s Ivy League Rookie of the Year, posted 12 kills and five blocks and hit .346 for the match. Senior Mikaelle Comrie also recorded 12 kills on the night. Senior Lily Durwood handed out a match-high 47 assists, while sophomore Christine Wu recorded a match-high 22 digs.
The Crimson started off strong, scoring the first two points of the match with big blocks from senior co-captain Chelsea Ono Horn and Ingersoll and then Ingersoll and Docter. Harvard scored three more points off blocks in the first set. The first stanza featured 10 ties. Colgate took its largest lead of the match at 23-20 after Logan Keala scored on an ace and a swing. One Horn and Ingersoll used back-to-back kills to close the gap at 24-23, but the Raiders got the final say when Casey Ritt found the ground in Harvard territory. Docter posted six kills on nine attempts for a .556 clip.
Ingersoll came up with five kills and Wu recorded nine digs in the second session helping the Crimson pull away from a 7-7 tie to take a 14-9 lead. Colgate cut the lead to four at 19-15, but a Raider error followed by a Wu ace put the home team up by six. The Raiders came back again, closing the gap at 21-18 before four-straight Crimson tallies equaled the match.
Colgate made some big plays at the net to win the third set, 25-17. Both teams struggled offensively, but it was the Raiders who were able to take advantage of errors and take the lead in the match.
The fourth set was a back-and forth battle with neither team leading by more than two until 13-11. Harvard stretch that lead to 14-11, on two kills from Comrie and another from sophomore Sandra Lynne Fryhofer. The Raiders managed a side out to stop the Crimson run and eventually tied the score at 17. Back-to-back kills from Docter put the home team back up by two at 20-18. After Colgate put a tally on the board, the Crimson scored two straight on Raider errors and added another on a Docter ace to take a four-point lead. The Raiders rallied and pulled to within 24-23. On set point, Comrie placed the ball in Raiders territory and give the Crimson a shot to win the match.
Harvard won three of the first four points and extended its lead to 10-6, forcing Colgate to call a timeout. The break worked, as Harvard errored on its next play and then won the following point to cut the lead to 10-8. The Crimson gained momentum and took at 12-9 advantage. The Raiders wouldn’t go down without a fight, tying the score at 12. Harvard went ahead on a Colgate attack error and then equaled the score when Harvard did the same. Ingersoll used two sets from Durwood to score the final two points of the match and give the Crimson its first victory of the season.
Kaleigh Durket had a big night for the Raiders, tallying a match-high 20 kills. Colgate posted 11 blocks and hit .203 for the match. The Crimson came up with 10 blocks for the match and hit .147. The Raiders also out dig the Crimson 59-50.
Harvard plays Stony Brook (0-5) at 1 p.m. and Toledo (4-0) at 7 p.m. tomorrow to close out the Harvard Invitational. Toledo beat Stony Brook, 3-2 (18-25, 16-25, 25-21, 25-23, 15-13), earlier in the day.