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Women's Volleyball Takes Down Ivy League Leader Yale, 3-2

The Crimson ended Yale's 23-match Ivy League win streak with a five-set victory Saturday night (Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard women's volleyball team upset first-place Yale Saturday evening with a thrilling 3-2 win at the Malkin Athletic Center. The victory came by set scores of 26-24, 26-28, 27-25, 23-25 and 15-9.

Harvard (12-7, 7-3 Ivy League) received career nights from Kathleen Wallace, Grace Weghorst and Caroline Walters as the trio combined for 59 kills and a .434 hitting percentage. Wallace turned in a career-high 22 kills and hit .362 on the night, while Weghorst recorded a personal best with 21 kills and a .395 hitting percentage. Walters, meanwhile, notched her highest total with 16 kills and hit at a .652 clip.

Corinne Bain tallied her fourth double-double of the year with 10 kills, 39 assists and 14 digs. Hannah Schmidt also recorded a double-double with 27 kills and 12 digs, while Kristen Casey paced the defense with 22 digs. The Crimson combined for a .341 hitting percentage on the evening, the team's highest percentage since Sept. 27.

Kelly Johnson (19 kills, 11 digs) and Kendall Polan (60 assists, 11 digs) each registered a double-double for Yale (15-4, 9-1 Ivy League), while Maya Midzik turned in 14 kills.

Harvard's victory pulled the Crimson within two games of Yale for the conference lead and improved the Harvard to 8-1 at home, marking the program's best record at the MAC. The triumph also put an end to the Bulldogs' 23-match Ivy League win streak and snapped a 19-match skid for the Crimson against Yale.

The match featured a total of 46 tie scores and 15 lead changes beginning with a first set that saw 12 tie scores and five lead changes. Yale opened a brief 7-4 lead early but saw the Crimson come back to go ahead 9-8 on a Weghorst kill. Tied at 15, a Bulldog error and Weghorst smash put Harvard up by two, 17-15, before a 3-0 stretch gave the hosts a 20-17 advantage. Harvard held serve with a chance at set point, 24-22, but a pair of Yale scores evened the frame back up at 24. Coming out of a timeout, Wallace gave the Crimson another shot at the set and a Yale error on the next point gave Harvard the win, 26-24.

Kills by Walters and Erin Cooney to open the second put Harvard in front, 2-0, before Yale rallied with a 6-0 stretch to take a 10-6 advantage. The Crimson remained close and eventually tied the score at 22 on a Wallace kill, and a block from Holte and Wallace evened things up once again at 24. This time is was the Bulldogs who persevered to take the set, 28-26.

Harvard built a five-point lead midway through the third thanks to kills from Weghorst and Wallace, and a Weghorst ace. Yale battled back and went in front 19-18 on a Crimson error, and had a chance to steal the frame following a Johnson kill, 24-23. Wallace put the teams on even ground with a smash on the next point, 24-24, and a pair of Weghorst strikes gave the frame to Harvard, 27-25.

The Crimson led 2-0 again in the fourth and was unable to capitalize down the stretch after going ahead by three, 14-11. Tied at 20, Yale rattled off three consecutive points for a 23-20 margin and took the set off a pair of Johnson kills, 25-23.

The fifth and final set was another good one as the teams found themselves all even at 6.  Back-to-back kills by Weghorst gave Harvard some breathing room, 8-6, before a 4-0 stretch which included two more Weghorst strikes put the score at 12-8. Harvard would go on another run with a Walters kill, Bain ace and Weghorst smash to seal the victory, 15-9.

Harvard returns to the MAC next week when it hosts Princeton and Penn in its final home weekend of the year. The Crimson will first be in action Friday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. against the Tigers before hosting the Quakers Saturday, Nov. 9 at 5 p.m. on Senior Night.