Volleyball wins thriller in Ivy opener
By Joe Clyne
Published on Monday, September 24, 2012
The Dartmouth women’s volleyball team earned a split over the weekend, beating Harvard University at home in a thrilling five-setter before losing to the University of New Hampshire in three sets on the road.
On Friday, the Big Green (2-9, 1-0 Ivy) came back from a two-set-to-one deficit to upend the Crimson (2-9, 0-1 Ivy), 25-22, 20-25, 22-25, 28-26, 15-10. Led by outside hitters Paige Caridi ’16 and Alex Schoenberger ’15, Dartmouth won its home opener in exciting fashion.
After an 11-4 run helped the Big Green claim the fourth set, Dartmouth won the fifth set decisively to open Ivy League play with a win, ending a three-game losing streak.
“We had just played a fifth set in Buffalo where I felt we came out really tentative,” Coach Erin Lindsey said. “I was very happy that we learned from that experience.”
Dartmouth opened the match by winning the first set, 25-22, but the team could not capitalize on the strong start, dropping the next two sets. In the second, the Big Green fought back from a five-point deficit to trail by just one point, but Harvard held on to knot the match at one apiece.
Dartmouth started slow again in the third but stormed back to take a 19-17 lead. A few Big Green errors, however, handed the set to the Crimson by a score of 25-22.
Schoenberger, Caridi and middle blocker Elisa Scudder ’14 all had double-digit kills in the match, while Caridi also led the team in digs with 16. Setter Kayden Cook ’16 led the team in assists with 52.
Co-captain Kylie Kufeld ’13 said she was encouraged by the play of the Big Green’s young players.
“I think it was a really good sign that we pulled off the win, especially since in the past we would get down on ourselves when playing from behind,” Kufeld said.
Harvard’s standouts included Erin Cooney, Taylor Docter and Kathleen Wallace, who all had more than 10 kills. Docter, Natalie Doyle and Kristen Casey also pitched in with double-digit digs.
Dartmouth’s win helped erase the memory of a particularly trying out-of-conference schedule, during which the Big Green posted a 1-8 record.
“We played a particularly tough preseason this year to try and prepare for the Ivy League schedule, and it feels great to start that off with a win, particularly with such a young team,” Lindsey said.
On Sunday, Dartmouth traveled to Durham, N.H., to take on the New Hampshire Wildcats, who won in straight sets, 29-27, 25-13, 25-15. The first set proved pivotal as Dartmouth had four chances to close out the set but could not seal the deal.
“That first set was very intense,” Caridi said. “A few calls and plays could have gone either way, but New Hampshire just happened to pull it out.”
After an injury to libero Holly Harper ’15 early in the second set, the Wildcats jumped out to a quick lead and never looked back. They went on a 9-2 run to start the set behind four fast kills from Abby Brinkman.
New Hampshire seemed to have an advantage serving throughout the game, tallying four service aces to Dartmouth’s one. The Wildcats also served well more consistently, with four service errors compared to the Big Green’s five.
“We really struggled with their service after our libero got hurt,” Kufeld said. “She’s kind of like our general out there, and we couldn’t bounce back.”
The third set did not go Dartmouth’s way either, as the Wildcats never let the Big Green come within striking distance. New Hampshire won the third game by a score of 25-15.
“When things didn’t go our way at the end of the first set, I think we lost our composure a little bit,” Caridi said. “The effort was still there, but the execution was not.”
Caridi led the team in kills and digs, tallying double digits in both categories. Cook also played well, with 10 digs and 23 assists.
New Hampshire was led by the play of Morgan Thatcher, Tori Forrest and Brinkman, all of whom scored double-digit kills. Senior Jansan Falcusan led the Wildcats in assists with 40 and also attained 11 digs. Jessie Schnepp pitched in with 20 digs.
“Even though things didn’t go our way today, it was definitely a learning experience that’s just going to make us even more driven to win next game,” Caridi said.
The Big Green takes the court again on Friday night at 7 p.m. at Leede Arena, where the team will take on the University of Pennsylvania. Dartmouth will then host Princeton University on Saturday at 5 p.m.