Coming off of its sixth straight win after a victory earlier in the afternoon over Providence, Boston College volleyball went into Friday night’s game against Harvard looking to add a seventh game to its winning streak.
Just a year ago, BC was in a similar position, vying for its 10th straight win during the URI invitational. The early-season dominance, which has persisted throughout the last two seasons, continued as BC closed out the game against Harvard in just three swift sets.
With the win over the Crimson (6–2), the Eagles (9–3) won their 19th, 20th, and 21st straight sets, having not dropped a set in nearly two weeks.
The set scores were 25–14, 27–25, and 25–18.
In the first set, BC quickly gained control. The Eagles forced numerous hitting errors on the Crimson and kept a clean playing style. BC started the game strong with an ace from Grace Penn on the second point, and the Eagles quickly forced Harvard to call a timeout at 9–4 after a kill from Katrina Jensen.
The Eagles did not let the timeout halt their momentum, though, and they picked up right where they left off. An ace from Sophia Lambros and a subsequent block gave BC an 11-point lead. After consecutive kills from Alayna Crabtree, Halle Schroder, and Jensen, the score rested securely at 14–5.
BC and Harvard went back and forth in a few more rallies before decisive kills from Jensen and Schroder gave the Eagles set one.
Harvard rebounded in the second set, scoring four points before BC could get on the scoreboard. Both teams fought tooth and nail over the next few points, but Harvard stayed slightly ahead of the Eagles. An attack error from BC and a kill from Harvard’s Ava Rauser forced BC to call a timeout as it trailed 15–10.
“I think [Harvard] got in some spurts where they felt like they could do no wrong and they were certainly the aggressor in some situations,” BC head coach Jason Kennedy said. “We just needed to call a timeout, regroup, and get back to being the aggressor.”
After the timeout, Harvard missed its serve which allowed the Eagles to bring themselves back as the aggressors in the game. A kill from freshman Audrey Ross did just that, reigniting the team and earning her the title of “difference maker” in the second set from Kennedy. The back-and-forth nature of the match continued, but a newfound energy was evident on BC’s side of the court.
Harvard won a few key points and took a 23–20 lead over the Eagles, but a kill from Jensen and an ace from Penn brought BC back into the game. After a Harvard timeout, BC tied the game at 24–24 and a ball-handling error from Harvard pushed the Eagles into the lead.
After service errors from both teams, the score read 26–25. A decisive kill from Crabtree ended the set.
Kennedy said that the timeouts in the second set were paramount because they allowed the Eagles to play more comfortably.
Harvard once again led early in the third set and used its strong blocking to quickly secure a 4–1 lead. The Eagles kept pushing, however, and after a hitting error from Harvard, they tied the score at 7–7. A kill from Crabtree allowed BC to pull ahead.
Frustration began to seep into Harvard’s play style which created unforced errors. The Crimson called a timeout while trailing 10–8 and tried to reset, but their first serve after the timeout was lost to a foot fault. In the following play, a double touch from Harvard pushed the score to 13–10 for BC.
The Eagles continued to apply pressure with an ace from Brooklyn Yelland and a few more kills which brought the score to 18–12.
Ross was an instrumental player in the final moments of the game and racked up two kills and a block in a five-point span.
“I thought Audrey Ross came in there and made two really good blocks on that side,” Kennedy said. “For a freshman, she did a phenomenal job all day on the blocking and on the attacking.”
A serving ace from Crabtree sealed the game for BC and gave the Eagles yet another sweep.