Bulldogs Get Back on Track With Sweep of Big Red

Haley  Wessels. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Haley Wessels. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

ITHACA, N.Y. — The last six times that the Yale volleyball team has suffered a loss, it has bounced back to win its next match. Friday night at Cornell was no different, as the Bulldogs rebounded from a tough five-set loss to Penn last weekend by sweeping Big Red by set scores of 26-24, 25-23 and 25-14. Senior Cat Dailey led all players with 12 kills. Freshman Kerry Clavadetscher dished out a match-best 34 assists, and junior libero Kelly Ozurovich picked up 25 digs in the three-set match.

With the win, the Bulldogs improve to 13-2 overall and 3-1 in the Ivy League. Yale has won nine consecutive road matches against Ancient Eight competition, dating back to the 2007 season. Cornell falls to 5-11 overall and 2-3 in the Ivy League with the loss.

Dailey complimented her 12 kills with nine digs. Freshman Haley Wessels had 10 kills in the contest, and senior Laurel Johnson added eight. Senior Alexis Crusey had six kills, senior captain Julia Mailander tallied four and Clavadetscher picked up two kills from the setter slot. Sophomore Bridget Hearst added one kill to round out the Yale attack.

As a team, the Bulldogs hit .239 (43-15-117) for the match, while Big Red swung at a .139 (33-16-122) clip. Yale won the blocking battle, 9-6.5, led by four apiece from Crusey, Johnson and Wessels. The Bulldogs landed seven service aces compared to three by Cornell.

The match was a back-and-forth battle from the opening serve, as the two squads split the first 18 points to a 9-9 deadlock. At that point, the Bulldogs rattled off four straight points, punctuated by an ace from sophomore Katie Cordell, to run the score to 13-9 and force a Big Red timeout. Cornell controlled the next spurt of action, putting together a 5-2 stretch to cut the lead to a single point at 15-14. After a Yale timeout, Big Red took the next three points to reclaim the lead at 17-15. The Bulldogs responded with another run, as Crusey smashed a kill and a pair of blocks to give Yale an 18-17 advantage. Big Red would win the next rally to tie the set for the ____th time, and the deadlock would hold up to 23-23. Dailey’s fourth kill of the frame gave Yale a set-point opportunity at 24-23, but the Bulldogs failed to cash in as Cornell knotted the score once again at 24-24. A kill from Johnson gave Yale its second set point chance, and Johnson and Crusey ended the set with a big block to give the Bulldogs a 26-24 victory.

Yale hit .186 (15-7-43) in the set, while Big Red swung at a .220 (15-6-41) clip. Each team hammered home four blocks, and Yale dropped in three service aces to Cornell’s one.

The Bulldogs carried their momentum into set two, taking five of the first six points to grab an early 5-1 lead. Cornell would answer in a big way, however, with a 7-0 spurt to take an 8-5 lead and force Appleman to call her first timeout. Big Red would lead by as many as six points, 16-10, before Yale began to come back. The Bulldogs cut the lead back down to one point at 17-16, but Big Red took the next two rallies to build the lead back up to three points at 19-16. Kills from Clavadetscher and Johnson then brought Yale back to within a point at 19-18 and forced a Cornell timeout. The Bulldogs took the next point out of the stoppage to tie the score for the first time since it was 5-5, but Big Red then claimed three of the next four rallies to take a 22-20 advantage. With Cornell closing in on set point, Yale responded to tie the score at 22-22. The deadlock held to 23-23, when a Big Red attack error gave the Bulldogs a set-point chance, leading 24-23. After Big Red took its second timeout of the frame, Crusey and Wessels teamed up on a block to end the set with Yale taking a 25-23 decision and a 2-0 edge in the match.

Set three was a return to the back-and-forth nature of the opening frame, as the squads dueled to a 5-4 tally in favor of Big Red. Yale then put together a 5-1 run to take a 9-6 lead, the first lead of more than two points in the set, and force a Cornell timeout. The spurt would continue to 7-1 after the stoppage, giving the Bulldogs a five-point edge at 11-6. The five-point cushion held up to 15-10, at which point a Hearst kill and an ace by Ozurovich give Yale a 17-10 edge and forced a Cornell timeout. The lead grew all the way to 11 points at 24-13 as the Bulldogs attempted their first match point.

Cornell was led offensively by nine kills from Deveney Pula. Jordan Reeder doled out 23 assists, and libero Megan Mushovic had a team-best 16 digs.

The Bulldogs are back in action tomorrow afternoon, as they continue the Ivy League slate with a 5 p.m. contest at Columbia.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity