Women’s Volleyball Takes Two to Start Bryant Invitational

Teresa Skelly totalted 21 kills in two matches Friday at the Bryant Invitational (Gil Talbot).

With a pair of wins Friday night, the Harvard women's volleyball team secured its best start since 2001, silencing Holy Cross, 3-0, and downing Bryant, 3-1, on the first night of the Bryant Invitational. The Crimson is now 4-1 on the 2011 season.

Harvard stumbled out of the gate against the Crusaders in the first match of the day, dropping the first three points of the match and falling behind, 12-5, midway through the frame. Harvard clawed back into the match, rallying with a 6-1 run to even the match at 18-all and taking its first lead at 20-19. Kills by Taylor Docter and Teresa Skelly helped the Crimson to a 25-22 win in the opening set. 

Tied at 4-4 in the second set, Harvard put its foot on the gas en route to a dominating second set win. The Crimson hit a match-best .394 in the second set, putting down 18 kills in a 25-12 set win. A hot start in the third set had Harvard well out in front, but the Crusaders wouldn't go down without a fight, closing an eight-point gap to knot the score at 13-13. At 19-19, Skelly put down a kill, and a Christine Wu ace and Erin Cooney kill gave Harvard a 22-19 edge. Back-to-back kills by Sandra Lynne Fryhofer sealed the set, 25-20, and the win, 3-0, for Harvard.

Skelly led the Crimson with 11 kills while Fryhofer ended with 10. Cooney, Docter and Kristen Casey all racked up nine kills and Beth Kinsella dished out 35 assists in the win. 

In the second match of the day, Bryant stayed close with Harvard through the first half the opening set, knotting the score at 14-14 on a Crimson service error. Harvard separated itself from the hosts with an 8-0 run, which sparked a 25-17 opening set win. It was more of the same in the second, as the teams worked their way to a 13-13 tie, before Harvard put together a 9-2 streak to grab a secure a 22-15 advantage. A Skelly kill wrapped up the second for Harvard by a 25-22 score.

In the closest set of the day, Harvard and Bryant found themselves tied at 21-21 in the third, before Bryant rallied for its first set win, 25-22. Down 17-16 in the fourth set, Harvard put together a three-point swing to grab the lead for good in the final frame. A pair of kills from Casey and one final kill by Skelly sealed the 25-19 set win, and the 3-1 match victory, the second of the day for the Crimson.

Casey led all hitters with 15 kills in the match, followed by Docter (12) and Skelly (10), who also had a match-high seven blocks in the win. Wu tallied 28 digs for the Crimson and Kinsella finished with a match-best 40 assists. 

Harvard wraps up its stay at the Bryant Invitational tomorrow when it faces Maryland-Eastern Shore in a 5 p.m. showdown.