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Women's Volleyball To Battle for Regional Supremacy at Inaugural New England Challenge

Harvard's balanced attack will take on regional foes this weekend at the inaugural New England Challenge  (Gil Talbot).

Story Line
Coming off a 2-1 weekend at the Harvard Invitational, the women's volleyball team is now set to face UConn, Northeastern and Boston College in the first-ever New England Challenge. The Crimson will first play the Huskies in Storrs, Conn., on Friday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. before taking to the court against the Huskies and Eagles on Saturday, Sept. 15 at Northeastern's Cabot Center.

A live video stream and live stats for Friday's match will be available through UConnHuskies.com by clicking here. GoNU.com will also provide live video streams and live stats for all of Saturday's matches.

Last Time Out
The Crimson went 2-1 at last weekend's Harvard Invitational, defeating both Manhattan and Providence in straight sets before falling to the tournament champion, Northern Kentucky, 3-0. Taylor Docter, Kathleen Wallace and Caroline Walters were each named to the all-tournament team. Docter posted 3.11 kps, 3.56 dps and 0.78 bps to earn her second all-tournament selection in as many weeks. Wallace was also named to the Ivy League Honor Roll after hitting .519 (30-3-52) for the week and averaging 3.33 kps and 1.00 dps. Walters, meanwhile, posted 2.33 kps and 0.67 bps while hitting .576.

New England Challenge
The inaugural New England Challenge will pit four of the region's premier women's volleyball programs against one another to find out who reigns supreme.

"We are excited to have the opportunity to compete with Boston College, UConn and Northeastern in the first annual New England Challenge," stated Harvard head coach Jen Weiss. "This will be a fun event to showcase the sport of volleyball throughout the area. We look forward to continuing this tradition for many years."

2012 New England Challenge

Friday, Sept. 7
(at UConn & Northeastern)
Saturday, Sept. 8
(at Northeastern)

Harvard at UConn
Boston College at Northeastern
Harvard at Northeastern
Boston College vs. UConn
Harvard vs. Boston College
UConn at Northeastern

Live Video
Live Video
Live Video
Live Video
Live Video
Live Video

Live Stats
Live Stats
Live Stats
Live Stats
Live Stats
Live Stats

7 p.m.
7 p.m.
11 a.m.
1 p.m.
5 p.m.
7 p.m.

The Hitters
Harvard has benefited from a balanced offense early in the season as five different Crimson have attempted at least 60 attacks with three of them averaging at least 2.00 kps. Taylor Docter leads the way with 2.95 kps, but is followed closely by Kathleen Wallace who has notched 2.75 kps with a .353 hitting percentage. Caroline Walters ranks third on the team with 2.00 kps while her .443 hitting percentage is good for 15th in the NCAA. Teressa Skelly and Caroline Holte have also contributed to the attack, averaging 1.47 kps and 1.45 kps, respectively.

Setting it Up
Senior Beth Kinsella and freshman Hannah Schmidt have shared setting duties as the team has shifted into a 6-2 offensive system. Schmidt has dished out 107 assists for an average of 5.35 per set, while Kinsella has tallied 90 assists for a 5.29 average. The duo has helped Harvard to a .222 hitting percentage, third highest in the Ivy League.

On the Block
Middle blockers Caroline Holte, Teresa Skelly and Caroline Walters have helped Harvard average 2.33 bps through the first six matches of the year, good for 73rd in the NCAA. Skelly leads the team with 19 total blocks and is third in the Ancient Eight with an average of 1.12 bps. Both Holte and Walters have recorded 16 total blocks for an average of 0.80 per set.

Keep an Eye Out For…
Beth Kinsella, Taylor Docter and Teresa Skelly each have a chance to make their marks on the Harvard record books this season. Kinsella currently ranks sixth all-time with 1,327 assists and has averaged 7.54 aps for her career. Docter's career average of 2.55 kps is good for ninth in school history while her 82 aces are just two shy of entering the top 10. Docter is also closing in on Harvard's all-time top 10 for kills and enters the weekend with 758. Skelly, meanwhile, is just eight block assists (176) short of entering the program's top 10 and needs 37 more total blocks (202) to join that list as well.

Scouting UConn (6-5)
The Huskies enter play this weekend coming off a 2-2 performance at the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational hosted by Missouri State. UConn is led by Devon Maugle who has notched 3.84 kps and 2.39 dps this season. Mattison Quayle has added 2.82 kps and 2.57 dps, and has also recorded 0.82 bps. Marissa Prinzbach has served as the team's primary setter with 9.53 aps and Kelsey Maving has tallied 5.79 dps as the team's libero.

Scouting Northeastern (8-3)
Northeastern went 2-1 at last weekend's Duke Classic and has won four of its last five matches entering the weekend. The Huskies have been paced by Kelly Bacon's 3.26 kps while Jillian Briner has added 2.42 kps. Nicole Bishop has led Northeastern defensively with 0.92 bps, with Natalia Skiba notching 5.84 dps at the libero position. Ina Kamenova and Briner have split time at setter, averaging 6.32 aps and 5.68 aps, respectively.

Scouting Boston College (6-4)
The Eagles are coming off a 2-1 weekend at the Spring Hill Suites at Arundel Mills Invitational hosted by the University of Maryland. Katty Workman and Courtney Castle have led the charge for BC on both the offensive and defensive sides of the net this season, with Workman, the reigning ACC Freshman of the Week, averaging 3.76 kps and 2.39 dps while Castle has notched 3.24 kps and 3.39 dps. The setting duties have been split between Cagla Sen and Kellie Barnum. Sen has averaged 6.90 aps as Barnum has dished out 6.00 aps.

Hitting it Home
Harvard registered a .474 hitting percentage against Providence, by far the highest hitting percentage of the season recorded by an Ivy League school. The Crimson converted 40 kills against the Friars on 78 attempts while only committing three errors. Caroline Walters hit a match-high .750 (6-0-8) while Kathleen Wallace hit .667 (12-0-18), the second-highest individual hitting percentage with a minimum of 10 attempts in the Ancient Eight this season. Caroline Holte (7-1-10) and Jennifer Shults (4-0-7) also got in on the action, hitting .600 and .571, respectively.

Harvard last hit .400 for a match on Sept. 27, 2008, when the squad combined for a .456 hitting percentage (35-4-68) in a 3-0 win over St. Francis (Pa.).

All-Tourney
Senior co-captain Taylor Docter has been named to both the Hokie Invitational and Harvard Invitational all-tournament teams this season. She was joined on the Harvard Invitational All-Tournament Team by freshman Kathleen Wallace and sophomore Caroline Walters. This marked the first all-tourney honor of each of their careers.

Captain of the Ship
Senior Taylor Docter was voted by her teammates as the 59th captain of Harvard women's volleyball. Docter was an All-Ivy League second team and Academic All-Ivy honoree in 2011 after ranking eighth in the conference in kills per set (3.05), seventh in aces (0.27) and seventh in points per set (3.52). The Los Altos, Calif., native also averaged 1.72 dps on the defensive side of the net and finished her year with career-highs in kills, attempts, hitting percentage and digs.

"Taylor has been an impact player since her freshmen season," Head Coach Jen Weiss commented. "She came in this preseason in great shape and ready to work hard. As a second team All-Ivy outside hitter, she led our team in points scored and kills per set.  She has a natural ability to lead and her peers respect her on and off the court. Taylor's composure on court has been tremendous this year and I look forward to her leading the team."

Platinum Anniversary
Head coach Jen Weiss is in her 20th season at the helm of the Crimson. Weiss owns a 243-282 record on the sidelines and guided Harvard to its only Ivy League championship in 2004. She has mentored 46 All-Ivy honorees, five Ivy League Rookie of the Year recipients and coached the program's first two-time Ivy League Player of the Year in Kaego Ogbechie '05.

Catch the Crimson in 2012
Harvard will host 11 home matches at the Malkin Athletic Center this season and each will be streamed live online through GoCrimson.com. Fans can also watch each match On Demand approximately two hours after completion. One-year subscriptions are available for $49.95 and allow access to every home event streamed by the Crimson, including football, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's hockey and men's soccer. For more information or to sign up today, click here.