Harvard at No. 4 Nebraska
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard women's volleyball team will be making its first appearance in the NCAA tournament when it takes to the court against fourth-seeded Nebraska Friday, Dec. 4 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln, Nebraska. First serve is scheduled for 8 p.m. EST or 30 minutes after the conclusion of the 5:30 p.m. EST match between Wichita State and Kansas State.
Fans in Nebraska will be able to watch Friday's match live on NET. That broadcast will also be simulcast online at BTN2GO.com for free, but you must have a cable subscription that includes the Big Ten Network. For fans without a Big Ten Network cable subscription, a free video stream without commentary will be available at Huskers.com.
Buy Your Tickets Now
All session tickets are on-sale now and are priced at $34 for reserved A and B levels and $30 for C level (click here for seating map). All-session tickets include the two first-round matches on Friday, plus the second-round match on Saturday.
Click here to purchase your tickets today.
How We Got Here
Harvard earned its first-ever trip to the NCAA tournament with a 3-1 win over Princeton in the Ivy League Playoff on Nov. 20 after the teams tied for the Ivy League title with identical 10-4 records. For Harvard, which is 15-10 overall, this represents the third Ancient Eight crown in program history after having also shared the championship in 2004 and 2014.
Nebraska received an at-large bid and the No. 4 seed in the tournament after finishing second in the Big 10 with a 17-3 conference record, 26-4 overall. Nebraska is 92-30 (.754) in 33 previous NCAA Tournament appearances, ranking second among NCAA schools in wins and third in winning percentage, and will be hosting the first and second rounds for a 12th straight year.
Kansas State (17-11, 9-7 Big 12) and Wichita State (26-8, 15-3 MVC) will meet before the Crimson and Huskers at 5:30 p.m. EST. Kansas State received an at-large bid to the tournament while Wichita State won the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament to earn its spot.
Friday's winners will meet in the NCAA tournament second round at 8 p.m. EST on Saturday, Dec. 5 to battle for a spot in the Lexington, Kentucky regional on Dec. 11-12. In addition to fourth-seeded Nebraska, No. 5 Washington, No. 12 Ohio State and No. 13 BYU are the other national seeds in the Lexington Regional.
Ivies at the NCAA Tournament
Harvard will be representing the Ivy League in the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history on Friday. Yale had previously represented the Ancient Eight in four straight tournaments, and nearly pulled off a first-round upset in 2012 as it lost in five sets to Bowling Green.
Penn was the last Ivy League program to earn a win in the NCAA tournament when it defeated Army in the first round of the 2009 tournament, 3-1. Yale earned a five-set victory over Ohio the year before, and in 2004 became the first Ivy League team to win a match in the tournament with a 3-1 win versus Albany.
The Ivy League is 3-21 all-time in the Ivy League tournament.
Going Out On Top
For Harvard's seniors, this year's NCAA tournament appearance marks the natural progression to a process which began during their freshman year when the team went 10-15 overall and 7-7 against the Ancient Eight, good for fifth place. The following season Harvard went 14-9 overall and finished second in the conference at 9-5, before earning a share of the Ivy title last year with a 19-5 overall mark and 12-2 record against the Ivies. The Crimson suffered a 3-0 loss at home to its rival Yale in the 2014 Ivy League Playoff to be denied the program's first trip to the postseason.
Last Time Out
The Harvard women's volleyball team punched its ticket to the NCAA tournament with a 3-1 win over Princeton in the Ivy League Playoff at the Malkin Athletic Center.
Corinne Bain powered Harvard to the victory, turning in her seventh triple-double of the season with 15 kills, 18 assists, 14 digs and a .321 hitting percentage. Kathleen Wallace added 14 kills and nine digs as Christina Cornelius turned in nine kills, seven blocks and a .500 hitting percentage.
Hannah Schmidt dished out 27 assists to help the squad to a .268 hitting percentage. The Crimson defense, meanwhile, limited Princeton (15-9) to a .146 percentage behind 14 total blocks and a 15-dig effort from Sindhu Vegesena.
Freshman Christina Cornelius was tabbed as the Ivy League Women's Volleyball Rookie of the Year, headlining a group of five Crimson named to the All-Ivy League teams last Thursday.
Cornelius is the seventh freshman in program history to earn Rookie of the Year honors and was also selected to the All-Ivy first team along with Corinne Bain and Kathleen Wallace, who were both unanimous selections. Caroline Holte was tabbed to the second team with Sindhu Vegesena earning honorable mention accolades.
For Harvard, this marked the second straight year that five members of the squad have received all-conference accolades, matching the program record set last year. The Crimson's three All-Ivy first team selections, meanwhile, also match the program high.
Harvard dominated the Ivy League weekly awards this season, winning five of 11 Player of the Week honors while adding three Rookie of the Week plaudits for a total of eight decorations.
Christina Cornelius was the most recent member of the Crimson to take home a weekly honor, being named Ivy League Rookie of the Week on Nov. 10 for the second time this season after averaging 2.33 kills per set, 1.67 digs per set and 1.50 blocks per set while hitting .583 during the team's final homestand.
Kathleen Wallace was tabbed as the Ivy League Player of the Week on Oct. 20 after turning in a pair of double-doubles at Columbia and Cornell, marking her second career Player of the Week award.
Bain was named Player of the Week a total of four times, and became the first student-athlete to earn the award three straight times since Princeton's Lydia Rudnick did so in 2010. She now boasts nine Player of the Week accolades for her career, and has been recognized by the Ivy League with either a weekly award or inclusion on the Honor Roll 29 out of 33 weeks during her career, including 24 consecutive weeks dating back to her freshman season.
This marked the first Rookie of the Week honor for Meyer who earned the first two starts of her career and rewarded the coaching staff with a breakout weekend.
Harvard previously swept the Ivy League awards on Sept. 22 when Cornelius was paired with Bain as the Rookie of the Week.
Honors and Awards
Ivy League Rookie of the Year
The Crimson's strength this season has been its dominance on the defensive side of the net, where it ranks eighth in the NCAA in blocks per set (2.98) and is 21st in opponent hitting percentage (.161). Christina Cornelius, who was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Year and first team All-Ivy, has been at the center of it all, ranking sixth individually with 1.57 blocks per set while turning in the second-most total blocks (129) in school history.
Harvard's 283.5 total blocks this season are second-most in program history, while its 431 block assists are the most ever recorded.
Harvard has turned in double-digit blocks 15 times this season, including each of its last five matches heading into the tournament. The Crimson recorded at least 10 blocks in seven straight matches from Sept. 18 to Oct. 9, its longest streak since at least 2003 (the last year for which match-by-match statistics are available).
Freshman Christina Cornelius has made an immediate impact on the Crimson as one of the premier blockers in the NCAA, currently ranking sixth in the country with 1.57 blocks per set. Despite missing three matches with an injury, her 129 total blocks this season rank second in program history while her 108 block assists are the most in program history.
Cornelius has totaled at least five blocks in 16 matches this season, including three matches in which she has turned aside nine attempts.
Stuffing The Stat Sheet
Senior Caroline Holte became the program's all-time leader in block assists on Oct. 2, passing two-time All-Ivy League first team selection Suzie Trimble '08 for the top spot. Holte currently boasts 350 block assists for her career, and also ranks second in program history, 11th in Ivy annals, with 387 total blocks.
Step Your Game Up
Senior Kathleen Wallace took her game to a new level in Ivy League play, averaging 3.48 kills per set and hitting .226 after totaling just 2.43 kills per set and a .174 percentage in five non-conference matches. Wallace contributed double-digit kills in 11 of 14 conference matches while recording six double-doubles.
Can You Dig It
Senior Sindhu Vegesena ranks second in the Ivy League and fourth in Harvard history with a career-best 4.65 digs per set, helping to limit opponents to a .161 hitting percentage, the lowest opponent hitting percentage in the conference since 2012.
Vegesena's career 4.16 digs per set average is the third-highest in program annals.
Junior Corinne Bain has turned in seven triple-doubles this season, the third most in the NCAA. Last year she led the nation with an Ivy League record 10 triple-doubles after turning in six as a freshman.
Bain boasts 23 triple-doubles for her career and is the only member of the Crimson to achieve the feat.
Climbing The Charts
Corinne Bain, Caroline Holte, Hannah Schmidt, Sindhu Vegesena and Kathleen Wallace are etching their names in the Harvard record book. For complete information, click here.
Kills Per Set
Home Court Advantage
Harvard posted an 11-4 record at the Malkin Athletic Center in 2015 and went 36-13 at home during the tenure of seniors Caroline Holte, Hannah Schmidt, Sindhu Vegesena, and Kathleen Wallace.
Women's Volleyball Summer Internships: Part I
Senior Sindhu Vegesena spent part of her summer teaching in Vietnam with Coach for College while classmate Hannah Schmidt interned for Conservation International.
Women's Volleyball Summer Internships: Part II
Senior Kathleen Wallace spent her summer doing research in the Brigham and Women's Regenerative Medicine Center while Grace Weghorst interned at Time, Inc.
For the seventh straight year, the Harvard women's volleyball team was recognized for its work in the classroom with the American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award. The award, which was initiated in the 1992-93 academic year, honors collegiate and high school volleyball teams that displayed excellence in the classroom during the school year by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team grade-point average on a 4.0 scale.
Captaining The Ship
Seniors Caroline Holte and Hannah Schmidt have been voted by their teammates as co-captains for the 2015 Harvard women's volleyball season.
"Caroline and Hannah have embraced their leadership role and have set high standards for themselves and the team," commented head coach Jennifer Weiss. "They have been key contributors both on and off the court during their three years at Harvard and they have dedicated many hours to not only develop as volleyball players, but more importantly great citizens of our volleyball program and Harvard University."
On The Sidelines
Harvard women's volleyball head coach Jennifer Weiss returns for her 23rd season at the helm of the Crimson. Weiss has led Harvard to 299 wins during her tenure, including Ivy League titles in 2004, 2014 and 2015. She has mentored 77 All-Ivy honorees, seven Ivy League Rookie of the Year recipients and coached the program's first two-time Ivy League Player of the Year in Kaego Ogbechie '05.