CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard women's volleyball is set to kick off Ivy League action this Friday night against Dartmouth after competing in three non-conference tournaments to open the season. The Big Green will travel to the Malkin Athletic Center for a 7 p.m. start and the match will be broadcast live on the Ivy League Network.
The Opening Serve
- After a roaring weekend, freshman Mindie Mabry has taken the team lead in scoring, raking in 2.63 kills per set. Grace Roberts Burbank (2.44), Christina Cornelius (2.41) and Maclaine Fields (2.28) are also making an impact for the Crimson
- Christina Cornelius is also pulling weight on defense, adding 16 blocks this weekend, and is now averaging 1.15 blocks per set through the first nine matches.
- Erin McCarthy has posted a team high three double-doubles and is already within reach of her 2016 season total in assists. The sophomore has jumped from averaging 4.12 assists per set in 2016 to 10.00 per set in 2017.
Last Time Out
In its last match, the Harvard women's volleyball team claimed regional bragging rights with a 3-0 victory over UMass Lowell. Earlier that weekend, the Crimson also took matches from Boston College and Northeastern to complete the New England Challenge. Against the River Hawks, Harvard tallied just eight attack errors while UMass Lowell recorded 25. Mindie Mabry posted an error-less match, accumulating 10 kills on 18 attempts for a season high .556 hitting percentage. Paige Kebe also contributed for the Crimson, adding five kills and a block solo. Christina Cornelius was again the closer, notching the final point and rounding out the match with nine kills, two aces and three blocks.
Heading into Ivy League play, Harvard has settled in to its new rotations and is reaping rewards from its freshman. Offensive staples Christina Cornelius, Grace Roberts Burbank and Maclaine Fields have all upped the ante, intensifying and strengthening their attacks on the opponent. Rookie Mindie Mabry has already made a name for herself three weeks in, surging to the team lead of 2.63 kills per set. Fellow freshman Sydney Vach is splitting libero time with Anna Uhr, both averaging at least two digs per set.
The Big Green enters Ivy League competition 4-5 after three tournaments. Dartmouth began the 2017 season on the West Coast, taking on powerhouses California, Texas Tech and Eastern Washington. Since then, the Big Green has remained close to home, hosting the Dartmouth Invitational and competing at New Hampshire's Holly Young Invitational. Dartmouth is currently at the top of the Ivy League putting up an average of 2.57 blocks per set, led by Tola Akinwumi and Carly Tower. The Big Green attack is led by Sara Lindquist who is raking in 2.21 kills per set assisted primarily by Tori Dozier with 6.82 assists per set.
One, Two, Three
Harvard put together a string of feats in last weekend's New England Challenge. Beginning on Thursday, the Crimson posted a .352 overall hitting percentage, the highest mark the team had recorded since October of 2014. Following up on Friday night, Harvard snapped Northeastern's 12-match unbeaten streak with a 3-1 victory. Then on Saturday, the squad earned its third win of the weekend, fourth consecutive, marking the first time Harvard has gone four-in-a-row since the 2015 season, the last time the Crimson won the Ivy title.
Climbing the Ranks
After a banner weekend, the Crimson now rank No. 1 in the Ivy League with a .241 hitting percentage. The mark also puts Harvard in the top 60 nationally. Individually, Maclaine Fields is leading the team with an overall .358 hitting percentage which ranks fifth in the Ivy League and in the top 100 among all Division I players. Sophomore Erin McCarthy is currently ranked second overall in the Ivy League with 10.00 assists per set, good for 88th in the nation and Christina Cornelius' 1.15 blocks per set average ranks 5th in the conference and 110th nationally. While not ranked on the national level, Mindie Mabry's 2.63 kills per set puts her tenth among all Ivy League players and second among Ivy freshmen.
Player of the Week
Co-captain Christina Cornelius was named Ivy League Player of the Week, as announced by the conference on Monday. This is the first weekly award for Harvard in 2017 and the first player of the week honor in Cornelius' career.
En route to Harvard's three-match sweep of the New England Challenge, Cornelius totaled 30 kills, five aces, 22 digs and 16 blocks, good for a team high 44 points. Beginning on Thursday, Cornelius hit .333 on eight kills and just two errors, while also contributing 13 digs and six blocks to the five-set effort against the Eagles. Against Northeastern, the junior raked in a team-high 13 kills and another seven blocks at the net. In the final match of the New England Challenge, Cornelius posted a .412 hitting percentage with nine kills along with two aces and three blocks. The junior has been a staple at the net for the Crimson this season, already amassing 39 blocks in 2017, compared to her season total of 71 in 2016.
Head coach Jennifer Weiss enters her 25th season of coaching at the Ivy League level. Weiss has accumulated a 138-143 (.491) Ivy League record, has led Harvard to three Ivy League Championships and has guided 77 All-Ivy selections during her tenure.
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, or download the Ivy League Network app!
After the lone match this weekend, the Crimson will return to the two-match format, taking on Cornell and Columbia next Friday and Saturday at home. Serves are set for 7 p.m. and 5 p.m. respectively.