CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard women's volleyball team is set to kick off its 2017 campaign Friday, Sept. 1 and Saturday, Sept. 2 with the Harvard Invitational. The Crimson will welcome American, Sacred Heart and Stony Brook for a round-robin slate that will be broadcast on the Ivy League Network. Harvard's first serve of the season is marked for 7pm on Friday against Stony Brook and the full tournament schedule, including live stat, video and results links, can be found on the Tournament Central page.
The Opening Match
- Harvard enters the 2017 season with 12 returning members of the 2016 squad, including top scorers Grace Roberts Burbank and Christina Cornelius who averaged 2.95 and 2.22 kills per set, respectively, last season.
- The Crimson added four newcomers to the 2017 roster, including outside hitters Evelyn Gray, Mindie Mabry, Sandra Zeng and libero Sydney Vach.
- Harvard will host 12 matches at the Malkin Athletic Center during the 2017 season, including Boston College and UMass Lowell for the New England Challenge and the standard seven match Ivy League set.
Recapping Last Season
Harvard completed the 2016 season 9-14 overall and split conference play with a 7-7 record, good for fourth in the Ivy League. The team averaged 12.41 kills per set, 11.85 assists per set and 14.56 digs per set through 23 matches. At the conclusion of the season, Grace Roberts Burbank and Christina Cornelius were named Second Team All-Ivy in addition to senior setter Corinne Bain earning First Team All-Ivy honors for the fourth consecutive season. Roberts Burbank ranked second in the Ivy League with 183 kills (3.27 kills/set) in conference play, while Cornelius notched seven or more kills in 19 of 23 matches.
After a nine-year hiatus, the Crimson will take on the Eagles in the primetime matchup to round out the 2017 tournament. Harvard has only played American twice in program history, dropping both matches in 2007 and 2008. The Eagles began their season last weekend at Georgetown's D.C. Volleyball Challenge. Despite emerging with a 1-3 record to start the 2017 campaign, the Eagles challenged both Santa Clara and Georgetown to five set matches. Junior Aleksandra Kazala led the attack, averaging 4.41 kills per set while Kristen Largay and Loren McKenzie manned the defense putting up 4.41 digs per set and 1.00 blocks per set respectively.
Scouting Sacred Heart
Sacred Heart will return to Cambridge for the first time since 2005, looking to even the programs' series results where Harvard holds a 2-1 advantage. The Pioneers also kicked off 2017 last weekend, posting a 1-2 record at James Madison's tournament. After being narrowly defeated in matches one and two against Rider and host James Madison, Sacred Heart rallied for a five-set win to close out the weekend in Harrisonburg, Va. On the scoresheet, Makayla Dole and Liisel Nelis contributed 50 and 46 kills respectively, and freshman Maddie Pope registered 3.86 digs per set.
Scouting Stony Brook
The Seawolves enter the Invitational with a 1-3 record so far this season. Competing at Butler's Bulldog Brawl last weekend, the young team was able to take a five-set victory over Eastern Michigan after facing setbacks against Robert Morris, Butler and Oakland. Emily Costello leads the Seawolves offense, averaging 2.80 kills per set and LeAnne Sakowicz will be a considerable threat, ending the weekend with a .393 hitting percentage. On the defensive corps, McKyla Brooks added a team high 13 blocks on the weekend while Kiani Kerstetter recorded 4.07 digs per set in the tournament.
A Family Affair
For the first time in his coaching career, newly minted assistant coach Jared Goldberg will go head to head with his dad, Barry Goldberg, who has been at the helm of American's program for the last 28 seasons. While with the Eagles, Barry Goldberg has compiled a 704-249 (.771) record and has steered his team to league championships in 14 of the last 16 years. Jared Goldberg joins Harvard after two seasons as an assistant coach at Morehead State University.
Harvard head coach Jennifer Weiss begins her 25th season with the Crimson this weekend. Along with three Ivy League Championships, Weiss has coached seven Ivy League Rookies of the Year, including current middle blocker Christina Cornelius, 77 All-Ivy selections and was named Ivy League Coach of the Year in 2014.
Ivy League Network
The Ivy League Network returns for a fifth season as the home for all live streaming and on-demand video content for each of the conference's eight institutions. Broadcast in full HD and featuring a live score bug and play-by-play and color commentary, the Ivy League Network provides fans with unprecedented access to the Ancient Eight.
Multiple subscription options are available to fans, including school-specific and league-wide passes. To learn more about the Ivy League Network or to sign-up today, click here.
The Crimson will return to action next weekend at the Holiday Inn Invitational, hosted by Wright State.