Holte's Big Night Pushes Women's Volleyball Past Hofstra, 3-1

Holte's Big Night Pushes Women's Volleyball Past Hofstra, 3-1

Holte's career night helped the Crimson improve to 2-0 on the year (Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard women's volleyball team battled back from a first set loss for the second straight night to defeat Hofstra Saturday evening, 3-1, and cap off the eighth annual Harvard Invitational with a 2-0 record. The victory came by set scores of 26-28, 25-23, 25-23, 25-23.

Caroline Holte and the Crimson front line combined for a total of 17 blocks with Holte being credited on 12. The sophomore finished her evening with one solo block and 11 block assists, marking the most blocks in a match for Harvard since Sandra Lynne Fryhofer '12 totaled 13 at Georgia State on Sept. 3, 2011. Both Kristen Casey and Caroline Walters added five block assists.

Harvard's (2-0) defense was strong all the way around in limiting Hofstra (4-2) to a .109 hitting percentage. Natalie Doyle turned in 14 digs to pace the back row with Casey and Sindhu Vagesena each contributing 13. Casey also notched 12 kills for her first double-double of the young season as Kathleen Wallace chipped in 11. Holte also added nine kills.

The Pride was led by Kelsie Wills who totaled 22 kills, 14 digs and five blocks.

Harvard is off to a 2-0 start for the first time since 2009 when it defeated Colgate and Stony Brook to open the year. Following Saturday's match Corinne Bain (6.56 aps, 2.00 kps, 2.00 dps), Walters (1.33 bps, 1.78 kps) and Wallace (2.22 kps, .255 hitting percentage) were named to the Harvard Invitational All-Tournament Team.

The Crimson took an early 16-9 lead in the first set but struggled during a 10-3 run by Hofstra which put the Pride on top, 20-19. Harvard fought back and took a 23-22 edge on a kill by Bain, but Hofstra survived to take the set, 28-26, and a 1-0 lead in the match.

The second set was another back-and-forth affair which saw 10 tie scores and four lead changes. The Crimson snuck ahead at the midway point, 15-12, off kills by Jennifer Shults and Wallace before the Pride came back to even the score at 17. With the set still tied, 21-21, kills by Holte and Casey put Harvard in position to take the win and a final kill from Holte put the frame away, 25-23.

The Crimson had to come from behind in the third as a 3-1 stretch put Hofstra on top, 13-10.  Trailing 16-13, Harvard rattled off three straight points to even the score and finally regained the lead, 20-19, on a block from Walters and Wallace. The Pride went back in front with a 3-0 spurt, 22-20, before a 5-1 run punctuated by a Walters and Bain block gave Harvard the set, 25-23.

Harvard jumped out to an early lead in the fourth, 4-0, and held a comfortable 21-15 lead heading into the stretch. Hofstra, however, would not go away quietly and used a 7-1 stretch to even the set at 22-22. Tied at 23, a kill by Casey put the Crimson in position to take match point, and on the ensuing play a block from Shults and Holte gave Harvard the victory, 25-23.

Harvard will return to the court next weekend as it travels west to take part in the Aztec Invitational. The Crimson will first face host San Diego State on Friday, Sept. 13 at 8 p.m. and will play both Southern Methodist and San Francisco on Saturday, Sept. 14.