By Steve Speedling
CAMBRIDGE, MASS – The Marist volleyball team earned its second win of the season on Friday night, defeating the Harvard Crimson in five sets in the first game of the Harvard Invitational.
With the win, Marist improves to 2-3 on the season, while Harvard falls to 0-1 on the year.
Neither team led set one by more than two points until Marist took an 11-8 lead. After a 5-0 Harvard run, the Red Foxes had to fight back to tie the set at 22. The tie continued until it was 24-24 forcing a win-by-two scenario. A kill from Vanessa Zolg and a block from Gabby Murray and Zolg helped propel Marist to a 28-26 victory in the opening set.
The Red Foxes led set two 10-6 and looked to be in control once again, but a 6-0 Crimson run gave Harvard control of the set. The Crimson’s lead grew to as large as seven, and they held on to win the set 25-19.
Harvard controlled the majority of set three, and gained a 2-1 advantage in the match after a 25-16 victory.
Sasha van der Merwe collected two quick kills early in set four, giving Marist an early 5-2 advantage. The Crimson fought back to tie the set at 12, but a kill from Madelyn Waumans put an end to Harvard’s run and sparked one for the Red Foxes giving them a 22-17 lead.
The Crimson would score four straight points, but Marist fought to hold on and win the set 25-21, capped by a kill from Murray.
Harvard controlled most of the early portion of the final set, getting out to a 10-8 lead. After two quick errors forced a Crimson timeout, the Red Foxes scored five of the next six ensuing points, earning the 3-2 victory for Marist.
Gabriella Heimbauer led the Red Foxes with a career-high 15 kills.
Van der Merwe (13) and Waumans (10) also had double-digits kills for Marist, and both tallied double doubles with 10 and 16 digs (match-high & career-high), respectively.
McKinley Fox had a game-high 39 assists and added eight digs.
Zolg, Heimbauer, and Murray each had four total blocks.
Jamie Rao had a game-high 20 kills for Harvard.
Serve stats were by far the most interesting stat of the night. The Crimson had 14 service aces to Marist’s five, but they also had 17 service aces to Marist’s seven.
Jillian Hanna matched a career-high with nine digs in the win.