Women's Volleyball Rides Hot Start Into Harvard Invitational

Women's Volleyball Rides Hot Start Into Harvard Invitational

Harvard looks to improve on its 5-2 record at its home tournament (Gil Talbot).

Story Line
Harvard hosts Navy, Northeastern and Holy Cross in the Harvard Invitational, Sept. 16-17. The Crimson enters the tournament with a record of 5-2 on the season.

Schedule for the Weekend
Sept. 16
4:00 p.m. ~ Navy vs. Northeastern
7:00 p.m. ~ Harvard vs. Holy Cross

Sept. 17
10:00 a.m.  ~ Holy Cross vs. Navy
1:00 p.m. ~ Harvard vs. Navy
4:00 p.m. ~ Northeastern vs. Holy Cross
7:00 p.m. ~ Harvard vs. Northeastern

The Home Team
Harvard is off to its best start in 27 years as it begins play at its own tournament with a 5-2 mark on the season. Harvard's record represents the second-best start to a season in program history, as only the 1984 squad, which started the season 7-1, had a better record out of the gate.

Senior co-captain Christine Wu has had a strong start to the 2011 season, setting the all-time program career digs mark against Bryant and garnering all-tournament honors at both the Georgia State and Bryant Invitationals. She enters the weekend ranked second in the Ivy League with a 5.78 digs per set average. Junior Taylor Docter has 86 kills and a 3.07 kills per set average to lead the Crimson, while sophomore Teresa Skelly is close behind with 60 total kills and leads the team in blocks (31) and blocks per set (1.11). Senior co-captain Sandra Lynne Fryhofer has posted 30 blocks on the season and fronts the squad with four solo blocks this year.

Scouting Holy Cross
The Crimson and Crusaders have already faced off once this season with Harvard grabbing a 3-0 victory at the Bryant Invitational Sept. 9. The Crusaders begin the Harvard Invitational with a 4-7 record on the season having dropped their last two matches.

Megan Lynch comes in as the team's top hitter with 140 kills on the year and also leads the team in kills per set (3.68), aces (14), digs (114) and digs per set (3.00). Kathleen Colpoys has put down a team-high 35 blocks, including 12 solo efforts, and Callie Black is right on her tail with 34 total and 10 solo. Hannah Grace Stokes is the team's primary setter and is averaging 7.32 assists per set.

Scouting Navy
The Mids make their way to Cambridge with a 3-8 overall record on the season. A tough stretch of teams in the front half of the schedule saw Navy start the season 0-7, but the squad has rallied to collect wins in three of its last four matches. Navy will face off against Northeastern to start the tournament, and will play Holy Cross and Harvard Saturday.

Carolyn Ewert is the top hitter on the Navy offense, putting down 121 kills at a 3.67 kills-per-set rate to lead the team. Ewert was recently named the MVP of the Hartford/Quinnipiac Tournament where Navy was declared champion after taking three of four matches. Erin Fortner has taken charge of setting and leads the team with 337 assists (8.64 per set) while Alex Cassel leads the team with 19 blocks on the year. Holly Berger fronts Navy with 12 service aces and leads a quintet of players with 69 digs or more with a team-high total of 151.

Scouting Northeastern
At 7-2, the Huskies boast the best record of the four teams at the Harvard Invitational. After 3-0 and 3-1 wins at the Beanpot Classic to start the season, Northeastern absorbed its only two losses at the San Diego Invitational. In the four matches since, the Huskies have notched 3-0 victories in each, downing New Hampshire, St. John's, Buffalo and Brown.

Kelly Bacon and Janelle Tucker are tied for the team lead in kills with 91 apiece, while Bacon holds the higher kills per set average at 3.25. Ina Kamenova and Jillian Briner have split the setting duties with Kamenova registering 173 assists to Briner's 159. Natalia Skiba's 160 digs is a team-high mark and Nicole Bishop has 36 total blocks, including eight solo, to lead the Huskies.  

Next for Harvard
After the Harvard Invitational, the Crimson opens its conference schedule with a home match against Dartmouth Sept. 24 at 5 p.m.