Women's Volleyball Wins Five-Set Thriller Against Penn

Women's Volleyball Wins Five-Set Thriller Against Penn

Docter's ace in the first set moved her into a tie with Christine Wu '12 for sixth-place on Harvard's all-time aces list with 93.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Trailing 13-6 in the fourth set, the Harvard women's volleyball team found itself with its back against the wall. The Crimson rallied to take the set, 25-22, and won a tightly-contested fifth frame, 15-13, to earn its first Ivy League victory of the season.

Seniors Taylor Docter and Beth Kinsella and freshman Hannah Schmidt each notched a double-double for the second consecutive night for Harvard (4-10, 1-2 Ivy League). Docter tallied 14 kills and 10 digs, while Kinsella led the Crimson in assists and digs with 25 and 19, respectively. Schmidt added 24 assists and 14 digs.

Freshman Kathleen Wallace finished with 14 kills and hit a match-best .375, and junior Erin Cooney chipped in 13 kills. Defensively, junior Natalie Doyle had 18 digs, while freshman Caroline Holte tallied a team-high five blocks.

Senior Amanda Pacheco led Penn (6-8, 1-2 Ivy League) with a match-best 16 kills.

The Quakers came out strong in the first set, earning a 25-16 victory behind five kills by senior captain Lauren Martin. Harvard kept it close at the beginning, trailing only 11-9, but Penn went on a 14-7 run to take the frame.

The roles reversed in the second set, which saw just two ties and one lead change. Wallace made a kill to expand the Crimson's advantage to 21-15 before the Quakers committed four straight errors to give Harvard the set, 25-15, and even the match. Wallace and Walters each notched four kills, while Docter added three.

Despite five kills by Docter, Harvard never led in the third frame, which Penn won, 25-17. The Quakers jumped out to an early lead in the fourth set, but committed six consecutive errors, which included a block by Holte and freshman Jennifer Shults, to help Harvard climb within two. Wallace scored a kill to close the gap to 13-12 and begin a see-saw affair that would continue for the remainder of the match. Wallace tied the score at 20 on a kill, and Schults gave the Crimson its first lead of the set, 21-20, with a kill. Harvard never trailed again in the fourth frame as it forced its third five-setter in as many matches in Ivy League play.

The fifth set featured seven ties and four lead changes. Cooney and Walters teamed up for a block to give the Crimson a 14-13 edge, and Walters scored a kill to seal the victory for Harvard.

The Crimson continues Ivy League play next weekend at home. Harvard will take on Brown Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. before facing Yale Oct. 6 at 5 p.m.