On the heels of two wins against Brown and Yale last week, Princeton women’s volleyball (10–6, 6–1 Ivy League) went on the road and extended its winning streak, beating both Harvard (4–12, 2–5) and Dartmouth (5–11, 1–6) in three sets.
The Tigers began the weekend in Cambridge, where back-to-back kills from senior outside hitter Natasha Skov put the pressure on Harvard right from the start of the first set, and Princeton later went on a 7–0 run to take command of the set. Harvard wasn’t able to recover, and the Tigers took the set 25–15 with a kill from senior outside hitter Devon Peterkin.
Unlike the first, the second set started out tight. The Crimson fought to keep the score tied at 4–4, but two big kills from Skov and a 3–0 run pushed the Tigers into the lead. Another kill by Skov closed out the set for a Tiger win, 25–18.
After struggling to catch Princeton over the course of the match, the Crimson fought their way to a 10–6 lead in the third set. Princeton responded with a run of its own to take a 23–17 lead, but Harvard came back with a fierce 8–2 run, knotting the score at 25–25 and forcing extra points. When the Crimson took the lead with 27–26, they seemed poised to clinch the impending match point. But Princeton fought back again, and junior middle blocker Clare Lenihan scored the decisive points for the Tigers, who won the final set 29–27.
Coming off their sweep in Cambridge, the Tigers went into their match against the Big Green with a 5–1 record in Ivy League play. Both teams fought for dominance at the start of the first set, neither one able to secure a definitive lead. But a kill from senior right side hitter Maggie O’Connell gave the Tigers the edge they needed, fueling a 6–0 run in the middle of the set. Not giving the Big Green any room to flip the score, Princeton closed out the first set 25–14.
Dartmouth came out strong in set two, taking a 3–0 lead that put the Tigers on the defensive. But the Tigers tied up the score with a kill from Lenihan and maintained momentum, not looking back as they took the second set 25–17.
In set three, the Tigers seized the lead right out of the gate, but the Big Green pushed back, bringing the score to a head at 6–6. A key kill from first-year middle blocker Olivia Schewe allowed the Tigers to take a narrow 9–8 lead. While the Big Green fought hard to overtake them, the Tigers were able to hold the lead, and a Lenihan kill closed out the final set 25–22.
Skov contributed a match-high 13 kills to lock up the win against the Big Green, while O’Connell contributed 12 kills and Lenihan 10 kills. Senior setter Jessie Harris led the match with 43 assists.
While reflecting on how the Tigers will maintain their Ivy League streak, first-year outside hitter Melina Mahood said, “We’ve been talking a lot about having ‘last game’ mentality, meaning that every game is the last game of the season. We did that with Harvard and Dartmouth, and we want to do that with Penn again. We want to do that with the rest of the games for the season, making sure that every game we play as hard as we can.”
The weekend’s results allowed Princeton to claim the second spot in the Ivy League standings, with Cornell just ahead. On Friday, Oct. 25, the Tigers will face the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia at 7:00 p.m.