Women’s Volleyball Can’t Outlast New Hampshire, Falls in Five

Women’s Volleyball Can’t Outlast New Hampshire, Falls in Five

Bain is seven aces shy of moving into Harvard's top 10 (photo courtesy Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -  The Harvard women's volleyball team took a two sets to one lead against New Hampshire, but the Wildcats rallied to drop the Crimson 3-2 Tuesday night at the Malkin Athletic Center.

Harvard (5-4) received strong offensive performances from sophomores Caroline Holte and Jennifer Shults who recorded 12 kills apiece. Freshman Grace Weghorst chipped in with 10. Corinne Bain dominated the setting duties for a career-best 42 assists. The freshman also tallied five aces on the night to move seven shy of entering Harvard's single-season top 10.

The Crimson defense was on display as it totaled 11 blocks and limited New Hampshire to a .177 hitting percentage. Junior Sindhu Vegesena turned in 25 digs to lead the charge, while senior Kristen Casey and Bain added 19 and 16, respectively. Junior Caroline Walters helped on eight of the Crimson's 11 blocks.

Senior Morgan Thatcher and sophomore Tori Forrest led New Hampshire's (6-10) attack with 15 and 14 kills, respectively. Junior Taylor Dunklau passed out a match-best 51 assists. The Wildcats' defense was paced by sophomore Madison Lightfoot's 25 digs.

The teams found themselves tied at 14 midway through the opening set, but a 5-1 stretch allowed the Crimson to open a 19-15 advantage. New Hampshire used a 7-2 run to knot the score at 22. The teams traded points down the stretch before Harvard was able to hold off the Wildcats down the stretch for the 26-24 win with a kill by Bain. Bain had 12 helpers in the set while Holte recorded five kills on seven attempts.

Harvard was forced to play from behind in the second set as New Hampshire opened a 16-12 margin. With Weghorst, the reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Week, on the service line the Crimson used a 5-0 run to take a 17-16 lead. The Wildcats rallied with three straight points to regain the lead and stopped Harvard for the 25-22 win.

Back-and-forth action dominated the third set which featured 10 lead changes and six ties. Following a 5-0 run by the Wildcats, the Crimson were down, 20-17. Harvard rallied with Bain at the service line for a 7-0 run to gain a decisive 24-20 lead. New Hampshire fought back with two straight points, but a kill by Shults put the set away, 25-22. Bain and Vegesena recorded nine digs each in the set, with Bain tallying 10 helpers.

Following a see-saw opening to the fourth frame that saw 10 lead changes and five ties, New Hampshire jumped out to a six-point lead, 14-8. Harvard used an 8-3 stretch to gain a 17-16 lead before the Wildcats answered with a 4-1 run of their own. The Crimson rallied behind Bain's serve for the second time in the match as it took a 22-21 lead with three straight points that included two kills by Shults. New Hampshire responded with another 4-1 stretch, however, to claim the set, 25-23, and force a fifth.

The Wildcats wasted no time in the final set as they jumped out to a 10-6 lead. The Crimson would not go down without a fight as they used a 6-2 run to even the frame at 12 on a kill by Weghorst. The teams traded points, but a kill by Thatcher sealed the victory for New Hampshire, 15-13.

Harvard opens Ivy League play when it entertains Dartmouth Friday, Sept. 27.