Women's Volleyball Opens NE Challenge with 3-1 Win Over UConn

Cornelius contributed 11 kills and seven blocks in the victory (Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard women's volleyball team rolled to a four-set win over Connecticut Friday night to open play in the fourth-annual New England Challenge at the Malkin Athletic Center. The victory came by set scores of 25-20, 26-24, 22-25 and 25-21.

Corinne Bain registered her third triple-double of the season, contributing 12 kills, 28 assists and 17 digs. Bain also recorded her 101st career ace, moving her into a tie with Pernilla Schweitzer '05 and Sarah Cebron '07 for fifth place in program history.

Paige Kebe contributed 14 kills to the attack as Christina Cornelius added 11 kills, a .556 hitting percentage (11-1-18) and seven blocks. Caroline Holte chipped in six kills and six blocks, with Caroline Labanowski totaling six kills and four blocks.

Sindhu Vegesena finished the evening with 23 digs in the back row to go with the 17 digs from Bain and 13 from Grace Weghorst. The stingy defense helped to limit UConn (5-4) to a .101 hitting percentage, the lowest by a Harvard (3-5) opponent since Brown hit .018 on Oct. 31, 2014.

The Crimson was on fire in the first set, hitting at a .467 clip (15-1-30). Bain, Cornelius, Labanowski and Weghorst registered three kills apiece in the frame, and the squad never trailed after taking a 6-5 lead.

UConn slowed Harvard's attack in the second but six kills by Kebe helped power the Crimson to a come-from-behind victory. The Huskies jumped out to a 6-1 edge before a 5-0 stretch put Harvard in front, 11-9, but UConn rallied with a 6-1 run to take 23-19 margin. A pair of Kebe kills began the dramatic finish for the Crimson, and the sophomore added a third as the hosts capped off a 7-1 spurt to steal the set, 26-24.

The Huskies led from beginning to end in the third set as they broke through with a 25-22 win. UConn remained with striking distance in the fourth and trailed 16-15 midway through the frame, but five straight points by the Crimson put the match out of reach. Cornelius was responsible for three points during the run, scoring a pair of kills and adding a solo block. A stuff by Holte and Labanowski put the match to bed, 25-21.

Harvard will be back in action tomorrow at the MAC as play continues in the New England Challenge. The day begins with UConn and Boston College squaring off at 10:30 a.m. before Harvard and Northeastern meet at 1 p.m. Northeastern and UConn will take the court 4:30 p.m., with Harvard hosting Boston College in the nightcap at 7 p.m.

All four matches tomorrow will be streamed live on the Ivy League Digital Network.