Freshman Grace Roberts Burbank notched a career-best 16 kills. (Gil Talbot)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard women's volleyball team earned a spirited five set win against Boston College, rallying from down 2-1 to earn a 3-2 win on Friday night at the Malkin Athletic Center. The Crimson took the opening game of the New England Challenge by set scores of 23-25, 25-19, 17-25, 25-20 and 17-15.
The Harvard attack was led by four who recorded double-digit kills on the night, including career nights for freshmen Maclaine Fields and Grace Roberts Burbank, who both set season highs with 16 kills. Paige Kebe added 15 kills, and Christina Cornelius notched 11 kills to lead the Crimson. Senior Corinne Baine also set a new career mark with 53 assists, and freshman setter Erin McCarthy added a season high 20 digs.
In the decisive fifth set, facing two match points down 14-12 to BC, the Crimson staged a memorable rally to seal the win. A Harvard error was followed by consecutive blocks by the home team, with Fields teaming with Roberts Burbank and Kebe on back-to-back points to make it 15-14 Harvard. A service error by the Crimson was followed by a Fields' 16th kill of the night to make it 16-15. When a BC attack sailed wide of the right sideline, Harvard had its dramatic five-set win.
BC gained the early edge in the opening set, but the Crimson cut what was once a six point BC lead at 15-9 to 24-23 late in the frame. But a Harvard service error gave the Eagles the decisive point in the first set for an early lead in the match.
Harvard responded with its strongest set of the night, with 17 kills offset by three errors for an attacking percentage of .452. Roberts Burbank led the way with seven kills in the frame, as Harvard raced out to a 17-10 lead and held off a late BC charge to even the score at 1-1.
BC elevated its effort on the attack in the third set, with 15 kills and just three errors, using a 5-0 run midway through the frame to break a 10-10 tie and take the lead for good.
Harvard evened the match at 2-2 in the fourth set, as the Crimson turned the tide with set even at 12-12, winning eight of the next 10 points to take control. Kebe recorded five kills in the frame to lead Harvard, while Bain had her most active set with 14 assists and a service ace, setting up the exciting finish.
The Crimson are back in action tomorrow night against Northeastern at the MAC at 5 p.m. to conclude the New England Challenge. The game will be streamed online via the Ivy League Digital Network.