Beth Kinsella had 46 assists for the Crimson (Gil Talbot).
ATLANTA, Ga. – The Harvard women's volleyball team took the first two sets of the 2011 season, but couldn't hold the lead as the Crimson dropped a five-set decision to The College of Charleston in its season opening match at the Georgia State Invitational.
Beth Kinsella ripped an ace on the first point and helped the Crimson out to a 4-0 lead in the opening set. Charleston worked to close the gap and got within 14-12, but a pair of kills from rookie Kristen Casey helped Harvard out to a 20-15 edge. Co-captain Sandra Lynne Fryhofer ended the opening set with a solo block, giving the Crimson the first set by a 25-19 score.
The teams stayed close throughout the second stanza, as neither squad got beyond four points of the other. Down 23-21 after a timeout, Harvard got kills from Taylor Docter and Casey to pull even at 23-23. A Charleston attack error put the Crimson up 24-23 and Casey gave Harvard a 2-0 set lead by converting a Kinsella pass.
The Cougars cleared their throats in the third game, jumping out to an 8-1 lead. Harvard pulled within four at 16-12 but the Charleston offense was relentless, totaling 13 kills in the set and getting on the board with a 25-13 set win. The Crimson found itself with an 18-13 deficit in the fourth but managed to level the score at 21-21 and again at 22-22. A costly ball handling error put the Cougars a point away from the fourth set win and a service ace squared the sets at two apiece.
The teams battled to a 10-all tie in the fifth set but three quick kills by the Cougars put the Crimson down 13-10. Teresa Skelly and Kinsella notched kills for Harvard but one final kill from Charleston gave the Cougars the match with a 15-12 win in the final set. Docter led the Crimson with 15 kills and Casey was close behind with 13, along with Erin Cooney who had 11. Kinsella ended with 46 assists and Skelly finished with five blocks.
Harvard is back in action tomorrow when it takes on Georgia State and Jacksonville State in Day 2 of the Georgia State Invitational. The first match is slated to begin at 1 p.m.