Harvard will host Yale next Friday in a one-match playoff with an NCAA berth on the line (Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – On the night they were recognized in front of family and friends for all their contributions over the past four years, Harvard volleyball's senior class of Kristen Casey and Caroline Walters led the team to a share of the Ivy League title with a 3-1 win over Cornell at the Malkin Athletic Center.
For Harvard it marks the second Ivy League championship in program history, with the other coming nearly 10 years ago to the day in 2004. That title also came under head coach Jennifer Weiss, who has guided the Crimson to a 19-4 overall record this season with a 12-2 mark against the Ancient Eight. Those 19 wins stand as the fourth most in program history, while the 12 Ivy wins represent a program best.
Harvard will share this year's conference crown with Yale which also finished 12-2 versus the Ivies. The two arch rivals will meet next Friday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. at the MAC in a one-match playoff to decide who will represent the conference in the NCAA tournament. That match can be seen live online via the Ivy League Digital Network.
Walters finished the match hitting .667 with a season-high 15 kills and three blocks. Casey, meanwhile, totaled six digs and matched her career-high with three service aces.
Sophomores Corinne Bain and Grace Weghorst each registered a double-double in the victory, with Bain turning in 23 assists, 11 digs, eight kills and three blocks. Weghorst scored a match-high 16 kills to go with 12 digs, and also added two aces. Hannah Schmidt contributed 27 assists to help the Crimson to a combined .321 hitting percentage, with Caroline Holte notching eight kills, a .500 percentage and four blocks. Sindhu Vegesena, meanwhile, came up with 17 digs as Cornell (6-18, 3-11 Ivy League) was limited to a .192 percentage.
The Big Red took advantage of some early nerves on Harvard's part to open a 1-0 lead after the first set. The Crimson was able to regroup in the second, however, opening a 14-4 lead midway through the frame en route to a 25-15 win.
Trailing 20-18 in the third, Harvard put together a 3-0 run to take a 21-20 edge, but needed to fend off Cornell late as the Big Red held serve with a chance at set point, 25-24. A kill by Weghorst gave the Crimson the sideout to even the score, and a second straight Weghorst kill was followed by a Cornell error to give the frame to Harvard.
The Crimson was in control throughout the fourth, opening an early 8-3 margin and taking a 19-10 lead off a Bain block. Weghorst's second ace of the night gave Harvard a chance at match point, and on the ensuing play Holte and Jennifer Shults stuffed the Big Red attack to secure the title.