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Volleyball Downs Harvard in Five-Set Home Opener

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By Gil Talbot

HANOVER, N.H. - In its first home match of the season, the Dartmouth volleyball team took down conference foe Harvard in a nail-biting five set match Friday night at Leede Arena. The Big Green (2-8) defeated the Crimson (2-9), 25-22, 20-25, 22-25, 28-26, 15-10 in their first Ivy League victory of the season.

Trailing two sets to one and facing elimination in the fourth set, Dartmouth went on an 11-4 run at the end of the fourth frame, forcing four ties and ultimately hanging on for a 28-26 set victory that brought about a fifth and final frame. Lucia Pohlman (9 kills, 10 digs, 4 service aces for the match) put an exclamation point on the team's comeback with a service ace for set point. The home team went on to take the final set decisively, winning 15-10 for the match victory.

Despite falling behind 9-5 early in the first set, the Big Green quickly got into rhythm and were able to match the Crimson point-for-point through the next half of the frame, finally pulling ahead for good when a Harvard service error made it 22-21. The home team took the set narrowly, 25-22 on a final kill by sophomore Alex Schoenberger.

Harvard went on an 8-2 run to open the second frame with Kristen Casey serving, and despite a late surge from the Big Green that pulled them within a point, 21-20, the Crimson kept their composure and finished off the set with a 4-0 run, winning 25-20.

The third set saw a number of small runs with neither team leading by more than four points and both squads battling for an advantage.  With the score tied 17-17, two straight Harvard attack errors gave Dartmouth the lead, but the Crimson responded with four straight points to make it 21-19 and force a Big Green timeout. With help from a number of Dartmouth errors, Harvard eventually took the set 25-22.

After the excitement of the fourth set, the Big Green came out hungry for a home victory in the fifth, taking an 11-6 lead on consecutive kills by Schoenberger and freshman Paige Caridi. Schoenberger added her fourth kill of the set and rookie Kayden Cook followed up with a service ace to give the Big Green a 13-8 advantage. Harvard committed a pair of errors to end the match, with Dartmouth winning 15-10.

Three Big Green players - Elisa Scudder (13 kills, 2 blocks), Caridi (16 kills, 16 digs) and Schoenberger (22 kills) - were double-digits in hitting for the match. Cook led the squad with 52 assists while adding 14 digs. Holly Harper chipped in with 15 digs of her own, while Meghan Cooney added 14.

For the Crimson, Taylor Docter led all players with 24 kills for the match, adding 15 digs. Caroline Walters had a match-high six blocks, while Casey's 20 digs were also tops on the night.

The Big Green hit the road Sunday, Sept. 23, facing the UNH Wildcats in a 2 p.m. matchup in Durham, N.H.