Harvard vs. Princeton
The winner of Friday night's playoff match will represent the Ivy League in the NCAA tournament (Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard women's volleyball team will host Princeton in a one-match playoff Friday night for the right to represent the Ivy League in the 2015 NCAA tournament. For Harvard it represents an opportunity to reach the tournament for the first time in program history, while Princeton will be seeking its sixth appearance and first since 2007.
The match will be available for free on the Ivy League Digital Network beginning at 7 p.m. with Ben Altsher and John Avino on the call.
Admission to Friday night's Ivy League Playoff match is free of charge on a first-come, first-serve basis. For directions to the Malkin Athletic Center, click here.
How We Got Here
Harvard and Princeton finished tied atop the Ivy League standings with identical 10-4 records, setting up Friday's one-match playoff to determine which program will earn the Ancient Eight's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
Harvard spent the final three weeks of the season atop the conference standings and controlled its own destiny heading into the final weekend of the regular season. The Crimson faltered on Friday night at Yale, however, opening up the opportunity for Princeton.
The Tigers, meanwhile, became the first team in Ivy League volleyball history to win an Ancient Eight title after starting conference play 0-3. Princeton won seven straight Ivy matches to close the regular season.
Inside The Series
Harvard and Princeton split the season series with each team winning in straight sets on its home floor. The Crimson took the first contest behind a defense which limited the Tigers to a .103 hitting percentage, and an offensive attack featuring 16 kills and a .424 hitting percentage from Kathleen Wallace.
Princeton was more efficient when Harvard visited Dillon Gym, hitting .283 for the match led by Cara Mattaliano and Kendall Peterkin who totaled 16 kills and 15 kills, respectively.
Despite Princeton owning a 49-13 advantage in the all-time series, Harvard has gone 5-3 versus the Tigers during the careers of seniors Caroline Holte, Hannah Schmidt, Kathleen Wallace and Sindhu Vegesena, including a 3-1 mark at home.
Ivy League Playoff History
Friday's playoff match will mark the fifth time since 2001 that a playoff has been needed to determine the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Harvard will now have been involved in three of the five playoffs, with Princeton appearing in its second playoff. The two were both involved in 2004 when four teams finished tied atop the regular season standings, but neither team advanced past the first round of the four-team playoff as Yale topped Cornell to win it all.
Penn and Yale have each won two of the previous four Ivy Playoffs.
Prior to 2001 an Ivy League Tournament was held featuring all eight teams to determine the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
Last Time Out
For the second straight year the Harvard women's volleyball team can call itself an Ivy League champion as it claimed a share of the 2015 title with a 3-1 win at Brown Saturday night. The victory came by set scores of 25-15, 22-25, 25-20 and 25-20.
Corinne Bain led the charge with eight kills, a .375 hitting percentage, 23 assists, 15 digs and four blocks. The senior class also figured prominently into the victory, with Kathleen Wallace adding 13 kills and 10 digs. Caroline Holte contributed seven kills and seven blocks, and was complimented by Hannah Schmidt's 12-assist, seven-dig night. Sindhu Vegesena, meanwhile, turned in 25 digs to help limit the Brown (10-16, 4-10 Ivy League) attack to a .055 percentage.
Harvard Top 5 Plays of the Week – Nov. 18, 2015
Women's volleyball took home the top spot in this week's Harvard Top 5 Plays countdown as Kathleen Wallace clinched the Crimson's second-straight Ivy league title with her 13th kill of the match at Brown.
Harvard has dominated the Ivy League weekly awards this season, winning five of 11 Player of the Week honors while adding three Rookie of the Week plaudits for a total of eight decorations.
Christina Cornelius was the most recent member of the Crimson to take home a weekly honor, being named Ivy League Rookie of the Week on Nov. 10 for the second time this season after averaging 2.33 kills per set, 1.67 digs per set and 1.50 blocks per set while hitting .583 during the team's final homestand.
Kathleen Wallace was tabbed as the Ivy League Player of the Week on Oct. 20 after turning in a pair of double-doubles at Columbia and Cornell, marking her second career Player of the Week award.
Bain has named Player of the Week four of eight weeks this season, and became the first student-athlete to earn the award three straight times since Princeton's Lydia Rudnick did so in 2010. She now boasts nine Player of the Week accolades for her career, and has been recognized by the Ivy League with either a weekly award or inclusion on the Honor Roll 28 out of 32 weeks during her career, including 23 consecutive weeks dating back to her freshman season.
This marked the first Rookie of the Week honor for Meyer who earned the first two starts of her career and rewarded the coaching staff with a breakout weekend.
Harvard previously swept the Ivy League awards on Sept. 22 when Cornelius was paired with Bain as the Rookie of the Week.
Honors and Awards
Ivy League Rookie of the Week (Sept. 22, Nov. 10)
Step Your Game Up
Senior Kathleen Wallace took her game to a new level in Ivy League play, averaging 3.48 kills per set and hitting .226 after totaling just 2.43 kills per set and a .174 percentage in five non-conference matches. Wallace contributed double-digit kills in 11 of 14 conference matches while recording six double-doubles.
Stuffing The Stat Sheet
Senior Caroline Holte became the program's all-time leader in block assists on Oct. 2, passing two-time All-Ivy League first team selection Suzie Trimble '08 for the top spot. Holte currently boasts 348 block assists for her career, and also ranks second in program history, 11th in Ivy annals, with 383 total blocks.
Harvard enters the weekend ranked eighth in the NCAA in blocks per set (2.96) while Christina Cornelius ranks seventh individually, second among freshmen, with 1.56 blocks per set.
The Crimson is tops in the Ivy League in blocks per set, with Cornelius and Caroline Holte (1.14) ranking first and third, respectively. Harvard recorded at least 10 blocks in seven straight matches from Sept. 18 to Oct. 9, its longest streak since at least 2003 (the last year for which match-by-match statistics are available), and has turned in double-digit stuffs 14 times this season.
Freshman Christina Cornelius has made an immediate impact on the Crimson as one of the premier blockers in the NCAA, currently ranking seventh in the country with 1.56 blocks per set. Her 122 total blocks this season rank fourth in program history, while her 103 block assists are the most in program history.
Cornelius has totaled at least five blocks in 13 matches this season, including three matches in which she has turned aside nine attempts.
Can You Dig It
Senior Sindhu Vegesena ranks second in the Ivy League with a career-best 4.69 digs per set, helping Harvard limit its opponents to a .161 hitting percentage, the lowest opponent hitting percentage in the conference since 2012.
Vegesena's 4.69 digs per set average and 427 digs both rank as the fourth-highest single-season totals in program history.
Junior Corinne Bain has turned in six triple-doubles this season, the fourth most in the NCAA. Last year she led the nation with an Ivy League record 10 triple-doubles after turning in six as a freshman.
Bain boasts 22 triple-doubles for her career and is the only member of the Crimson to achieve the feat.
Senior Grace Weghorst registered a career-high 24 kills in the team's 3-2 win over New Hampshire, marking the most kills by a member of the Crimson since Kathryn McKinley totaled 26 at Yale on Oct. 11, 2008.
Climbing The Charts
Corinne Bain, Caroline Holte and Hannah Schmidt are etching their names in the Harvard record book. For complete information, click here.
Home Court Advantage
Harvard has posted a 10-4 record at the Malkin Athletic Center in 2015 and is 35-13 at home during the tenure of seniors Caroline Holte, Hannah Schmidt, Sindhu Vegesena, and Kathleen Wallace.
Harvard wrapped up a nine-match homestand with wins over Brown and Yale Oct. 9-10, its longest since playing 10 consecutive matches at the MAC to begin the 1993 season.
Women's Volleyball Summer Internships: Part I
Senior Sindhu Vegesena spent part of her summer teaching in Vietnam with Coach for College while classmate Hannah Schmidt interned for Conservation International.
Women's Volleyball Summer Internships: Part II
Senior Kathleen Wallace spent her summer doing research in the Brigham and Women's Regenerative Medicine Center while Grace Weghorst interned at Time, Inc.
Defending the Crown
Harvard earned a share of the Ivy League championship in 2014 after posting a 19-5 overall record with a 12-2 mark against conference foes. The Crimson clinched its share of the crown with a 3-1 victory over Cornell on Nov. 15, nearly 10 years to the day of the program's first Ancient Eight title.
Harvard's 12 Ivy League victories in 2014 represented a new program record while its 19 overall wins were the fourth-most in school history.
For the seventh straight year, the Harvard women's volleyball team was recognized for its work in the classroom with the American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award. The award, which was initiated in the 1992-93 academic year, honors collegiate and high school volleyball teams that displayed excellence in the classroom during the school year by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team grade-point average on a 4.0 scale.
Captaining The Ship
Seniors Caroline Holte and Hannah Schmidt have been voted by their teammates as co-captains for the 2015 Harvard women's volleyball season.
"Caroline and Hannah have embraced their leadership role and have set high standards for themselves and the team," commented head coach Jennifer Weiss. "They have been key contributors both on and off the court during their three years at Harvard and they have dedicated many hours to not only develop as volleyball players, but more importantly great citizens of our volleyball program and Harvard University."
On The Sidelines
Harvard women's volleyball head coach Jennifer Weiss returns for her 23rd season at the helm of the Crimson. Weiss has led Harvard to 294 wins during her tenure, including Ivy League titles in 2004 and 2014. She has mentored 52 All-Ivy honorees, six 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.