For the fourth-straight year, Boston College volleyball and Harvard went to a dramatic five sets.
Last year, it was the Crimson that rallied from down 2-1 to come away with the win. This year, the Eagles were the ones rallying after dropping the first two sets. After taking the next two sets in dramatic fashion, however, the Eagles weren’t able to complete the comeback.
Harvard (3-4) built an early four-point lead in the decisive fifth set and hung on to win, taking the opening game of the New England Challenge by set scores of 25-16, 25-17, 24-26, 23-25, and 15-10.
Crimson setter Erin McCarthy paved the way with a career high 57 assists, and the trio of Maclaine Fields, Mindie Mabry, and Grace Roberts Burbank all recorded double-digit kills. Fields led the way with 19.5 points.
Cat Balido and Lynn Braakhuis had 18 kills apiece to lead the Eagles (3-6). Jane DeJarld added a team-high 44 assists, while Jill Strockis contributed 15 digs.
It was a disappointing setback for BC, as the team clawed its way back into the match with a pair of gutsy sets, but couldn’t pull it out in the end.
In the first set, the Eagles sprung out to a 4-3 lead, but soon trailed by eight after a convincing run by the Crimson. Harvard hit .462 with just two errors compared to BC’s .043 in what turned into a lopsided set.
A strong effort from Balido, who recorded three kills in the midst of a 6-2 BC run, kept it close until the final third of the set. A late timeout wasn’t able to stop the bleeding, as Mabry had a trio of kills, all set up by McCarthy, to secure the opening set.
BC jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the second set, but Harvard quickly turned the tables. Back-to-back kills from Roberts Burbank and a service ace from Christina Cornelius (13 digs) after drawing even at six put the Crimson ahead.
The Eagles made Harvard sweat a little, going on a 4-0 run late to close the deficit to four points. It was too little, too late, however, as the Crimson picked up the set.
BC elevated its attack in the third set, building a convincing 20-12 lead behind 14 kills and just one error. However, the comfortable lead didn’t last. Four errors resulted in a 6-1 run for the Crimson, leading to a timeout with the Eagles lead down to just three.
The timeout led to a kill from Braakhuis to pull within just one point of taking the set, but the Crimson pulled off a ferocious four-point rally to tie it up at 24. Another kill from Braakhuis paired with a rare error from Mabry allowed the Eagles to escape with the win.
The momentum carried over into a back-and-forth fourth set, with BC building an early seven-point lead. Harvard closed the gap again, ultimately pulling even at 24, but a kill from Braakhuis and an error from Mabry gave the Eagles the set.
Harvard took a 3-0 lead to start the fifth set and never trailed, eventually pulling away for the five-point win. A pair of BC errors were the final two points in the match.
The Eagles look to rebound as they take on another local foe in Northeastern on Saturday night at Cabot Center. The Huskies are 5-5 overall, but currently boast a four-game win streak. BC has managed just one win against Northeastern in the last five games.
Featured Image by Taylor Perison / Heights Staff