DI volleyball: Harvard punches ticket to NCAA Tournament
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard women's volleyball team punched its ticket to the NCAA tournament with a 3-1 win over Princeton on Friday night in the Ivy League Playoff at the Malkin Athletic Center.
For Harvard (15-10) this marks the first NCAA tournament berth in program history. The Crimson will learn its tournament fate next Sunday, Nov. 29 at 9 p.m. when the bracket is revealed live on ESPNU.
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.
The victory did not come easy as Princeton took the first set, 25-20, while leading nearly the entire way.
Harvard flipped the script in the second set, jumping out to an 11-4 lead on the strength of a 7-1 run. The Tigers pulled back to within 13-11, but the Crimson responded out of a timeout with a 6-1 stretch to push the score to 19-12.Three Princeton errors and a Wallace kill put the frame to bed, 25-21.
The Tigers appeared to have control of the third set and led 20-17 following a Kendall Peterkin kill. Bain stepped up to the challenge, however, registering three straight kills to even the score as Harvard mounted a furious comeback. A Princeton error gave the lead back to Harvard, 21-20, and kills by Cornelius and Bain put the Crimson in front 23-20. Bain tacked on her fifth kill during the rally, and a block by Cornelius and Jocelyn Meyer gave Harvard the 25-21 victory.
The fourth set was no less dramatic with 13 tie scores and five lead changes. Trailing 22-20, Bain and Wallace once again recorded back-to-back kills to tie the score before a Tiger error put the Crimson on top, 23-22. Nnenna Ibe evened the set for Princeton at 23-23, but Bain was once again at the center of the action recording her 15th kill for a 24-23 lead. On the ensuing point Bain and Cornelius teamed up for a block of Cara Mattaliano's attempt, sending the rest of the team rushing out onto the court in celebration of the team's first NCAA bid.