November 5, 2009

Harvard, Dartmouth Await Bulldogs This Weekend

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Last Friday night’s loss at unbeaten Penn may have dampened hopes of repeating as Ivy League Champions, but the Yale volleyball team looks to keep on the heels of the 9-0 Quakers this weekend with a pair of Ancient Eight matches at Harvard and Dartmouth. The Bulldogs sit at 7-2 in the Ivy League, two matches behind Penn with five left to play, and 17-3 overall in 2009.

Last Time Out
Yale dropped a four-set decision at Penn on Friday but rebounded with a convincing sweep at Princeton on Saturday to salvage a weekend split. Senior outside hitter Alexis Crusey averaged 4.43 kills and 3.14 digs per set, notching double-doubles in both contests, to earn a slot on the Ivy League Weekly Honor Roll for the third time this season.

Road Dogs
The Bulldogs are 5-1 in true road contests this season, and 7-2 in all matches away from the John J. Lee Amphitheater in 2009. Yale went 8-4 in road matches last season, including a 7-0 Ivy League mark on the road, and notched four wins in five matches on neutral courts.

Scouting Harvard (Nov. 6 – 7 p.m.)
The Harvard Crimson enters this weekend at 10-11 overall and 6-4 in Ivy League play. Harvard’s balanced offensive attack is led by two of the most efficient hitters in the Ancient Eight: Sandra Lynne Fryhofer (.319, second) and Anne Carroll Ingersoll (.303, fifth). Ingersoll is also the Ivy League leader with 1.08 blocks per frame. Lily Durwood runs the offense to the tune of 9.63 assists per set, and Christine Wu ranks fourth in the Ivy League with 5.14 digs per set.

Earlier This Season

Seniors Alexis Crusey and Cat Dailey each slammed double-figure kills- a match-best 12 kills from Crusey and 10 for Dailey- to guide the Yale to a sweep in New Haven by set scores of 25-23, 25-18 and 25-21. Freshman Haley Wessels added eight kills for Yale, and sophomore Bridget Hearst contributed seven. Hearst also landed five service aces, including four straight to spark a Yale run in the first set. Sophomore Taylor Cramm notched four finishers on eight errorless swings, and freshman Kerry Clavadetscher added three kills from the setter slot. Clavadetscher, the reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Week, dished out a match-best 38 assists. Defensively, junior libero Kelly Ozurovich shared the team high in digs, matching Crusey’s nine. Dailey had seven digs, and Clavadetscher and sophomore Laurel Casey each notched five digs. Senior Lydia Mailander picked up two digs, and Hearst and Wessels had one apiece. Wessels had a hand in a match-best five of the Bulldogs’ six blocks. Anne Carroll Ingersoll led Harvard with nine kills. Lily Durwood shouldered the setting duties for the Crimson and dished out 30 assists. Libero Christine Wu had the match high with 14 digs.

Scouting Dartmouth (Nov. 7 – 4 p.m.)
Dartmouth, who will host Brown on Friday before challenging the Bulldogs, enters the weekend at 9-11 overall and 5-5 in the Ivy League. Madeline Baird leads the Big Green offensively with 3.55 kills per set, the sixth-highest total in the Ancient Eight. Setter Kendall Houston rates at sixth in the league with 7.57 assists per frame.

Earlier This Season
Eight different players recorded kills, led by a match-high 11 from senior Cat Dailey, as the Bulldogs hit at a scorching .368 clip en route to sweeping Dartmouth. Freshman Kerry Clavadetscher recorded a double-double with 32 assists and 11 digs as Yale cruised past Big Green by set scores of 25-12, 25-15 and 25-14. Sophomore Bridget Hearst added nine kills on 17 swings. Senior Alexis Crusey and freshman Haley Wessels each had six kills, and sophomore Taylor Cramm notched five finishers. Sophomore Katie Cordell picked up three kills, Clavadetscher had two and senior Lydia Mailander rounded out the Yale attack with one kill. Clavadetscher’s double-double was the third of her career, and her 11 digs matched her career-best total. Junior Kelly Ozurovich picked up 13 kills from the libero spot and added a career-high seven assists. Crusey had 12 digs and landed four aces without committing a service error. Cramm had a hand in five blocks as the Bulldogs outblocked Big Green, 7-3.

The Chase for the Crown
Friday’s loss at Penn means that Yale no longer controls its own destiny, as the Bulldogs, if they were to win their remaining five contests, would also need the 9-0 Quakers to drop two of its final five matches to split the Ivy League Title. Both Yale and Penn have previously defeated all five of their remaining opponents.

On Crusey Control
One of the most dominant players in the Ivy League for the past three seasons, senior outside hitter Alexis Crusey is currently averaging 3.11 kills and 3.36 digs per frame, ranking in the top 10 in the Ancient Eight in both categories. The three-time first team All-Ivy honoree ranks fourth in Yale history with 1,223 kills and ninth in digs with 1,142 entering this weekend. Prior to the Ivy League season, Crusey grabbed All-Tournament Team honors at both the Yale Invitational and the American Volleyball Classic and took home Most Valuable Player laurels at the Yale Classic. Her performance at the Yale Classic also merited Ivy League Player of the Week honors.

Cat Power
Senior outside hitter Cat Dailey, the reigning Ivy League Player of the Year, has picked up where she left off in 2008, as she currently leads the Ancient Eight in kills with 4.12 per set. Dailey is also in the Ivy League top 10 in hitting percentage (.277), service aces (0.34 per set) and digs (3.23 per set). She was named Ivy League Player of the Week and a CVU.com Top Performer in the first week of action this season after hitting at a sizzling .487 clip, notching 39 kills on 78 attempts with just one error (4.88 kills per set) en route to being named the Most Valuable Player of the Yale Invitational. Dailey recently added to her list of accolades as a member of the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District First Team.

The Wizard
Junior libero Kelly Ozurovich reached a milestone in the Oct. 2 sweep of Brown, as she tallied her 1,000th career dig. Ozurovich, an All-Ivy honoree in both of her previous seasons at Yale, currently ranks second in the Ivy League and 14th in all of Division I with 5.29 digs per set this season. A two-time Ivy League Weekly Honor Roll selection this season, Ozurovich currently sits at 10th all-time in Yale history with 1,120 digs.

The Ministry of Defense
As potent as the Yale offense has been thus far in 2009, the Bulldogs’ defense has certainly done its part in guiding the squad to its 17-3 record. Yale currently leads all Ivy League teams in blocks (2.26 per set) and opponent hitting percentage (.133), while rating second in digs with 17.98 per frame.

An Instant Impact
After playing an integral part in the Bulldogs’ 2-0 road weekend at Cornell and Columbia on Oct. 16 and 17, Kerry Clavadetscher was recognized by the Ivy League as its Rookie of the Week. The freshman setter, who averaged 12.86 assists per set in seven frames of action last weekend, has now earned the distinction twice in 2009. For the season, Clavadetscher has been the second-most prolific setter in the Ivy League with an average of 10.75 assists per frame. The Seattle, Wash. native has also contributed 2.07 digs per set, 25 blocks, 25 kills and eight aces in 55 sets of action.

The Hits Kept on Coming
Sophomore Bridget Hearst turned in a remarkable performance in Yale’s four-set win at Columbia on Oct. 17. Hearst tallied a match-best 27 kills on 35 swings with just four errors for a stellar .657 hitting percentage. Her 27 kills marked the most by a Yale player since Shannon Farrell ’07 totaled 31 kills in five sets against Cornell in the 2004 Ivy League Playoff. Hearst was recognized for her performance as a member of the Ivy League Weekly Honor Roll.

Homecoming Queen
Playing in her home state of New Jersey, senior Laurel Johnson hit a commanding .424 (29-4-59) as the Bulldogs swept a trio of matches on Sept. 18-19 to win the Seton Hall Invitational. The Cherry Hill, N.J. native earned All-Tournament and Ivy League Player of the Week honors on the back of averaging 3.22 kills per set and amassing a tournament-best 1.22 blocks per set.

Hit Me With Your Best Shot
Yale’s straight-set win over Binghamton on Sept. 26 marked the Bulldogs’ third victory this season against an opponent that was selected to win its conference in the preseason coaches’ poll. The Bearcats, representing the America East Conference, join Fairfield from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and the Patriot League preseason favorite, American University, on the Bulldogs’ hit list.

This Is Our House
Yale is 10-1 in home matches this season. The Bulldogs went 9-1 in the Elm City last season, including a 6-1 home record against Ivy League competition. Only Penn has defeated Yale at the John J. Lee Amphitheater in each of the last two seasons.

Getting Back on Track
Including the sweep at Princeton on Oct. 31, Yale has won eight straight matches following a loss. The Bulldogs were last defeated in consecutive matches in September of 2008 at the Penn State Classic against the eventual-National Champion Lady Lions and Saint Louis, a team that finished last season ranked at No. 21 in the nation. Yale’s last four wins following a defeat have been in straight sets.

Starting Strong
Yale’s 12-1 start to the 2009 campaign was the best in program history. The 2005 Bulldogs, who previously owned the best start in Yale history, started 11-1 en route to a 20-4 (11-3 Ivy) finish. Yale’s 10-1 tally in non-conference contests this season signifies the best non-league mark for a Yale squad since 2001, when the non-conference schedule was shortened in favor of a 14-match Ivy League slate.

High School Heroines
PrepVolleyball.com, the Internet’s first and only website dedicated to covering club and high school volleyball on a national level, selected the Yale Class of 2013 as a High Honorable Mention in its annual rankings of the nation’s top recruiting classes, as determined by a panel of over 100 collegiate coaches. The Yale class of 2013 consists of Anya Cekauskas, Kerry Clavadetscher, Julia Cortopassi and Haley Wessels. Two of the four Ivy League recruiting classes to ever receive High Honorable Mention status have been Yale squads. The Bulldogs’ Class of 2010 (current seniors Alexis Crusey, Laurel Johnson, Julia Mailander and Lydia Mailander) also earned the distinction in 2006.

Trend Setters
Yale is the only Ivy League volleyball program to notch a win in the NCAA Championships. The 2004 Bulldogs, the first Ancient Eight squad to host an NCAA Championship match, knocked off Albany in five sets to tally the first postseason win in conference history. The 2008 Yale team then defeated Ohio in the University Park (Pa.) Subregional to become the first Ivy League team to win an NCAA Championship match away from its home court.

State Troopers
Including the sweeps of Fairfield, Central Connecticut State and Quinnipiac this season, the Bulldogs are 96-29 all-time against opponents from the state of Connecticut. Yale’s most frequent opponent from the Nutmeg State has been the University of Hartford, against which the Bulldogs are 21-3. The University of Connecticut has had the most success against the Bulldogs among in-state rivals with a 12-4 advantage in the series. Head Coach Erin Appleman is 11-2 versus the Constitution State, with both losses coming at the hands of the Huskies.

Beaten By the Best
The Bulldogs’ record-setting 2008 season ended in the NCAA Championship Second Round at the hands of No. 1 Penn State. The match, which was held on the Lady Lions’ home court, was the 34th consecutive sweep for the eventual national champions, who dropped only two sets all season en route to a 38-0 finish. In total, five of Yale’s six losses in 2008 came at the hands of teams that advanced to the NCAA Championship tournament.

On the Court and in the Classroom
The American Volleyball Coaches Association has announced that the Bulldogs are among the recipients of the AVCA Team Academic Award. The award has been presented annually since 1993 to collegiate and high school volleyball teams that have displayed excellence in the classroom during the school year by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team grade-point average.

Dig, Set, Tweet!
The Yale volleyball team has a new home in cyberspace this season, courtesy of Twitter, at http://www.twitter.com/YaleVolleyball. The Bulldogs’ Twitter page will feature news, information and live updates during most road matches.

2009 Schedule Notes
The 2009 schedule consists of 13 home matches and 12 road matches…The Bulldogs’ non-conference slate includes four opponents to whom they have never lost (Binghamton, Quinnipiac, Seton Hall, Virginia Tech), and an opponent they have never beaten (American)…Colorado and New Jersey Institute of Technology are both first-time opponents for Yale…Under Coach Appleman (2003-present), Yale has only played five of its 2009 non-conference opponents (Binghamton, Central Connecticut State, Georgetown, Hofstra, Quinnipiac). The Bulldogs are a combined 7-0 in those matches…Hofstra (Sept. 18) is the only repeat opponent from the 2008 non-conference schedule…Yale will only play two matches at the American Volleyball Classic (American and Virginia Tech). The fourth team at the event, NJIT, will challenge the Bulldogs the following weekend at the Seton Hall Tournament… Last season, Yale and Brown played a home-and-home series to open Ivy League play. This year, the series is split as the first and last matches of the Ancient Eight schedule…The Bulldogs will play three in-state opponents (Central Connecticut State, Fairfield, Quinnipiac), the most Nutmeg State foes they have challenged since 2005. Yale did not face any Connecticut squads in 2007 or 2008.

Team Up to Fight Cancer
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the volleyball team has combined efforts with the field hockey and women’s soccer teams this October for the first-ever “Team Up to Fight Cancer” initiative. The teams sold t-shirts and collected donations at home athletic events throughout the weekend of Oct. 2 to benefit the Yale Cancer Center, with the net proceeds being designated for breast cancer research.

Beach Blanket Broadcast
The Bulldogs relocated their morning practice on Friday, Aug. 28 from the familiar confines of the John J. Lee Amphitheater to scenic Hammonasset Beach in Madison, Conn. The defending Ivy League Champions hit the sand at Meig’s Point with the crew of the Fox 61 Morning News as a part of the “Zip Trip” segment, which highlights Connecticut-based attractions. Coach Appleman and members of the Yale team fielded questions from anchor Jeff Valin, while host Logan Byrnes took a few practice swings with the team.

Seniors’ Last Stand
The Bulldogs are back in action next weekend for the final home matches of 2009. Yale hosts Columbia on Friday afternoon and Cornell on Saturday. Both matches are slated for a 4 p.m. first serve. The contests, which will be featured on Yale All-Access, will be the final home contests in the careers of seniors Alexis Crusey, Cat Dailey, Laurel Johnson, Julia Mailander and Lydia Mailander.

Information
Yale Volleyball
Harvard Volleyball
Dartmouth Volleyball

Media Links
Harvard Live Stats
Harvard Streaming Video
Yale Volleyball on Twitter

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity