Princeton and Harvard played a pair of five-set marathons last season, and the 2011 Ivy League season began with a five-set thriller over Penn last weekend. Princeton kept the trend going with a 3-2 home victory over a resilient Harvard squad Friday night.
The Tigers held early control of the match with wins of 25-13 and 25-21 in the opening two sets. Harvard bounced back with a 25-21 win in the third and then rallied from an 18-9 deficit in the fourth to stun the Tigers with a 25-23 victory.
Of course, Princeton has dealt with this before, and it handled the moment. Ahead 9-8 in the fifth, Princeton ran off five straight points on the serve of Hillary Ford, who was brilliant in the match with 34 digs.
The victory improves Princeton to 9-5 overall, 2-0 in the Ivy League, while Harvard falls to 7-5, 0-2. The Tigers will host Dartmouth Saturday at 4; the Big Green dropped a 3-0 decision to Penn Friday night.
Freshman Sarah Hanna led Princeton with 16 kills and only one error for a .375 hitting percentage, while senior Cathryn Quinn maintained her stellar play with 13 kills, five blocks, three assists and a .375 attack percentage. Juniors Lydia Rudnick and Jennifer Palmquist combined for 21 kills, while freshman Nicole Kincade had one of her strongest matches with nine kills and six blocks.
Freshman Ginny Willis paced the Princeton offense with 49 assists and added two kills, while sophomores Sydney Brombal and Chelsea Parker combined for five service aces.
The win keeps Princeton in a share of first place with both Yale, a 3-0 winner over Cornell, and Columbia, a 3-1 winner over Brown. Columbia will play at Yale Saturday afternoon.