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Saturday Split Lands Women’s Volleyball in Second at Harvard Invitational

Harvard recorded a pair of 3-0 wins at its home tournament (Gil Talbot).

All-Tournament Team Ceremony

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. –
The Harvard women's volleyball team split a pair of matches Saturday at the Malkin Athletic Center to finish the 2011 Harvard Invitational in second place with a 2-1 record. The Crimson started the day off with a decisive 3-0 win over Navy and fell to Northeastern, 3-1, in the final matchup of the tourney. Harvard now stands at 7-3 on the year.     

In its first match of the day, the Crimson made short work of Mids, picking up three decisive set wins in a 3-0 victory. Two Navy attack errors right off the bat give Harvard a 2-0 lead which it eventually brought to a 9-8 edge in the opening set, thanks to strong serving from Sandra Lynne Fryhofer. A 6-2 run from a 13-10 edge gave the hosts a comfortable 19-12 cushion a kill from Taylor Docter sealed the first set, 25-17, for the Crimson.

Harvard had to play catch-up in the second, falling behind, 7-3, thanks to string hitting by the Mids early on. Solid serving stretches from Sindhu Vegesena, Fryhofer and Natalie Doyle helped right the ship for Harvard, allowing it to take a commanding 21-13 lead late in the frame. Navy scrapped its way back into the game, getting as close as 24-20, but a Kristen Casey kill ended Navy's hopes of a comeback, giving Harvard a 25-20 set win and 2-0 match lead.

The Crimson turned a 7-4 deficit into an 18-9 lead, thanks to a 9-0 run that saw Christine Wu fire off nine consecutive serves. Harvard maintained its level of play through the end of the set, sealing a 25-16 win in the frame and a 3-0 match win. Docter led all hitters with nine kills and chipped in two block assists while Casey had eight kills and six digs and Fryhofer had seven kills and four block assists. Beth Kinsella dished out 29 assists in the game and Wu's 25 digs was a match high.

Against Northeastern, Harvard knew it was in for a dogfight from the get-go as its largest lead of the opening set was just four points at 18-14. The Huskies clawed to tie it at 22-22 and again at 24-24, forcing Harvard to take a timeout. A costly service error gave the Crimson a set point and Teresa Skelly took advantage on the very next play, converting a Kinsella pass to give Harvard the opening set, 26-24.

The team's once again stayed close, playing to a 15-15 tie in the second before three straight kills and a service ace gave the guests a 19-15 edge. The deficit proved to be too much to overcome as Harvard dropped the second, 25-20. The Husky hitting was the story of the third frame as Northeastern posted 19 kills and a .562 attack percentage to take a 2-1 match lead with a 25-18 third-set victory.

Harvard refused to go quietly in the fourth set and hung with the Huskies late into the stanza. A docter kill and ensuing Northeastern attack error put the Crimson up 21-20 with Kinsella serving. Three consecutive Northeastern kills put the Huskies out front for good and the match ended on a pair of Northeastern service aces.

Cooney led the Crimson attack once again, hitting a powerful .526 for the match with 11 kills. Casey picked up 10 kills in the loss and added seven digs to her night while Kinsella totaled 35 assists and Wu topped the team with 14 digs.

Following the conclusion of the tournament, Wu and Cooney were named to the all-tournament team. The co-captain Wu has now been named to the all-tournament team in every tournament her team has played in this season.  

Harvard wraps up its home stretch with its Ivy League opener, as it welcomes Dartmouth to the Malkin Athletic Center Sept. 24 for a 5 p.m. game.