Harvard has its sights set on moving up the Ivy League standings this weekend at Penn and Princeton (Gil Talbot).
The Harvard volleyball team has a golden opportunity to catapult itself into second place of the Ivy League standings this weekend as it heads out on the road to face Penn and Princeton. The Crimson will first take on the Quakers Friday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. before tangling with the Tigers Saturday, Oct. 27 at 5 p.m.
Where Do We Stand?
Harvard is currently tied with Penn for third place in the Ivy League standings with a 5-3 conference mark. The Crimson and Quakers are just one match behind second-place Princeton (6-2) while Yale (8-0) has a firm grasp of the conference's top spot.
With a pair of victories this weekend, Harvard would jump into at least a tie for second place. The Crimson has finished no higher than fourth in the conference standings since earning its first Ivy League Championship in 2004.
Just Keep Winning
The Crimson has improved its win streak to three straight matches and has now won five of its last six. This marks the first time since October of 2009 that Harvard has won three straight in the Ivy League and is the squad's best stretch since taking seven of eight in September of last year. Harvard has not enjoyed a win streak of more than four matches since taking six in a row in 2008, and has not won more than three straight Ancient Eight contests since October of 2002.
Last Time Out
Senior captain Taylor Docter entered the Harvard top-10 for career kills, and freshman Caroline Holte set a new career-high with nine blocks as the Harvard women's volleyball team defeated Dartmouth, 3-1, Friday night at home.
Docter notched her 10th double-double of the season on a match-best 15 kills and 15 digs, while Schmidt had 15 digs and 20 assists for Harvard (8-11, 5-3 Ivy League). Docter is now tied with Katie Turley-Molony '07 for 10th on Harvard's career kill list with 922. Erin Cooney and Kathleen Wallace registered 12 and 10 kills, respectively, in a balanced offensive effort. Kristen Casey paced the Crimson defense with a match-high 16 digs, and Beth Kinsella dished out 24 assists.
Harvard's offense has been bookended by experience, with senior captain Taylor Docter and freshman Kathleen Wallace leading the way. Docter owns a team-best 3.19 kps average, good for third in the Ivy League, while Wallace owns a 2.70 kps average and a .280 hitting percentage. Junior Erin Cooney is third on the squad with 2.15 kps and sophomore Caroline Walters (1.76 kps) boasts a team best .372 hitting percentage, the second highest in the Ancient Eight.
Harvard ranks second in the Ivy League as a group with a combined .225 hitting percentage, its highest mark since hitting .208 in 2008.
Setting it Up
Senior Beth Kinsella and freshman Hannah Schmidt have shared the setting duties as the team has shifted into a 6-2 offensive system. Kinsella has dished out 373 assists for an average of 5.57 per set, while Schmidt has tallied 325 assists for a 4.71 average.
On the Block
Middle blockers Teresa Skelly, Caroline Walters and Caroline Holte have helped Harvard average 2.38 bps, good for second in the Ivy League. Holte leads the team with 73 total blocks and a 1.04 bps average, ranking her sixth in the Ivy League. Walters is a close second with 66 total blocks and an average of 0.94 bps with Skelly chipping in 21 total blocks and 0.88 bps in limited action.
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. Docter recently moved into the Crimson's all-time top 10 for kills, and is currently tied for 10th with Katie Turley-Molony '07 with 922 kills. Docter also ranks fifth in attack attempts (3,211), sixth in aces (95) and is eighth in kills per set (2.66). Kinsella is sixth all-time with 1,610 assists and has averaged 7.12 aps for her career. Skelly, meanwhile, is just six block assists (178) short of entering the program's top 10 and needs 35 total blocks (204) to join that list as well.
Sophomore Kristen Casey and freshman Caroline Holte are making a bid to join Harvard's single-season top 10 as well. Casey has averaged 3.67 dps, just shy of Laura Mahon's '08 mark of 3.68 dps set in 2008 for 10th. Holte, meanwhile, has posted 72 block assists and needs just five more to match Elissa Hart '98 and Mariah Pospisil's '04 benchmark of 77 to join the ranks.
To view the complete Harvard record book, click here.
Scouting Penn (10-9, 5-3 Ivy League)
Penn has won four of five to improve to 10-9 overall, 5-3 Ivy League, after suffering a 3-2 loss at the hands of the Crimson in Cambridge. The Quakers currently rank second in the Ancient Eight in kills per set (13.20), assists (12.22) and opponent hitting percentage (.170), and leads the League in digs (21.09). Emma White leads the squad and ranks ninth in the Ivy League with 2.86 kps while Ronnie Bither has dished out 8.00 aps, the third-best average in the conference. Dani Shepard (6.38) and White (4.48) rank first and fourth, respectively, in digs and Susan Stuecheli owns the third best blocks per set average at 1.12.
Harvard picked up a 3-2 win over Penn in the first meeting between the teams that began the Crimson's current stretch of success. Taylor Docter and Kathleen Wallace each recorded a team-high 14 kills, with Docter adding 10 digs for a double-double and Wallace notching a .375 hitting percentage. Erin Cooney added a career-high 13 kills as Beth Kinsella (25) and Hannah Schmidt (24) combined for 49 assists.
Scouting Princeton (9-9, 6-2 Ivy League)
Princeton has dropped two of its last three matches to fall to 9-9 overall, 6-2 Ivy League, after enjoying a five-match win streak. The Tigers rank third in the conference in several statistical categories, including hitting percentage (.221), opponent hitting percentage (.199), kills (12.81) and assists (11.97). Individually, Princeton boasts four of the Ancient Eight's top hitters in Lydia Rudnick, Kendall Peterkin, Leah Jordan and Tiana Woolridge. Rudnick (4.27) and Peterkin (3.20) are 1-2 in the conference in kills per set while Jordan (.384) and Woolridge (.354) rank first and fourth, respectively, in hitting percentage.
The Tigers edged by the Crimson in the first meeting between the squads, 3-2. Taylor Docter registered an 18-kill, 12-dig double-double while Kathleen Wallace added 14 kills with a .406 hitting percentage, but it was not enough as Peterkin and Rudnick tallied 27 kills and 25 kills apiece.
Taking Home the Honors
The Crimson has earned Ivy League honors in back-to-back weeks, with Taylor Docter being named player of the week on Oct. 16 and Caroline Holte earning the conference's rookie of the week award on Oct. 23.
Docter's accolade came after averaging 5.00 kps and 2.57 dps with a .280 hitting percentage at Cornell and Columbia. She scored 14 kills and added four blocks and six digs in a 3-1 win over the Big Red, and returned to the court the following day to notch 21 kills in a sweep of the Lions. Her 21 kills were two shy of her career-high, and the most for a Crimson student-athlete in a three-set match since 2008.
Holte posted a career-best nine blocks against Dartmouth and also tallied six kills and a .455 hitting percentage to help Harvard to its third straight win and its fifth victory in six matches. Her nine blocks rank as the third most for the Crimson in a single match since 2008.
Seniors Taylor Docter and Beth Kinsella and freshman Hannah Schmidt have combined for 19 double-doubles this season. Each recorded a double-double in back-to-back matches three weeks ago against Princeton and Penn, while Docter's streak of consecutive double-doubles reached five.
Harvard has recorded double-digit blocks in seven matches this season, most recently turning in a 13-block performance in a 3-1 win over Dartmouth. Harvard currently ranks second in the Ivy League with 2.38 bps, its highest average since 2003.
Taylor Docter set a new career-high with 23 kills at Dartmouth and finished the evening hitting .284 on 67 attempts with just four errors. Docter's 23 kills are the second most for any Crimson student-athlete since 2008, with Kathryn McKinley's '09 total of 26 at Yale in 2008 topping the list.
Serving it Up
Taylor Docter matched her career-high with five aces at New Hampshire, marking the fourth time the senior has tallied five in a single match. Docter's five aces were also the second-highest total of any Crimson since 2008, with Katherine Kocurek's '10 six aces at Dartmouth in 2008 leading the way.
Holte of the Block
Caroline Holte registered a career-high nine blocks at home against Dartmouth, the third most for the Crimson in a single match since 2008. The sophomore has recorded at least five blocks on eight occasions this season, including six times in the team's last nine matches.
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 fifth-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.).
Senior co-captain Taylor Docter was named to both the Hokie Invitational and Harvard Invitational all-tournament teams. She was joined on the Harvard Invitational All-Tournament Team by freshman Kathleen Wallace and sophomore Caroline Walters, while Kristen Casey was named to the New England Challenge All-Tournament Team, marking 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."
Head coach Jen Weiss is in her 20th season at the helm of the Crimson. Weiss owns a 248-289 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.