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Bulldogs Pound Cornell in Senior Day Sweep

Cat Dailey. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Cat Dailey. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Senior Cat Dailey hit a scorching .500, tallying 12 kills and 13 digs to lead the Yale volleyball team to an impressive sweep of Cornell on Saturday at the John J. Lee Amphitheater in New Haven. Dailey’s double-double, her 11th of 2009, led an well-rounded Bulldogs’ attack as they took the match by set scores of 25-14, 25-15 and 25-11.

Senior Alexis Crusey continued to make her mark on the Yale history books with her seven kills and nine digs in the contest. Crusey is now tied with Pauline Mu ’94 for third place all-time in kills with 1,279 and now ranks seventh in digs with 1,204 after passing Sarah Christianson ’93.

The match was the final home contest in the careers of seniors Dailey, Crusey, Laurel Johnson, Lydia Mailander and captain Julia Mailander.

“This class has done some extraordinary things,” said Yale Head Coach Erin Appleman, who took her 2008 squad to an Ivy League Championship and a victory in the NCAA Championship First Round. “They have meant so much to Yale volleyball over the last four years, and the program will be better off for years to come because of their contributions.”

With the win, Yale improves to 20-4 overall and 10-3 in the Ivy League. The Bulldogs’ 20th win marks the first time that Yale teams have won 20 matches in back-to-back seasons since the 1995 and 1996 seasons- a period in which teams played upwards of 30 regular season matches. Cornell falls to 6-19 on the season with a 3-11 Ivy League record. Elsewhere around the Ivy League, Penn knocked off Dartmouth in four sets to knock Yale out of contention for an Ancient Eight crown.

Joining in on the Bulldogs’ attack was sophomore Bridget Hearst, who hit .308 with six kills. Freshman Haley Wessels tallied four kills, while Johnson, sophomore Taylor Cramm and freshman Kerry Clavadetscher each had three finishers. Clavadetscher also ran the offense from the setter position and distributed a game-best 29 assists. The Bulldogs swung at a solid .275 (38-10-102) rate for the contest.

Defensively, junior libero Kelly Ozurovich led all players with 21 digs. With her performance, she gains sole possession of sixth place in the Yale record book with 1,223 career digs. Lydia Mailander chipped in in the backcourt with seven digs, and Wessels led the way at the net with four blocks. As a unit, the Yale defense held Cornell to a meager -.009 (23-24-112) hitting percentage.

Big Red jumped out to a quick 3-2 lead in set one, but Yale then caught fire as two Dailey service aces and two kills from Hearst sparked a 6-0 run to give the Bulldogs a 9-3 advantage. Cornell would not get closer than within five points of Yale, and the Bulldogs extended their lead to as many as 11 points en route to a 25-14 win in set one.

Set two was a much more tightly contest affair in the early stages, as the score ran to a 6-6 deadlock. At that point, the Bulldogs ran off three straight points to gain an advantage, and an ace by sophomore Katie Cordell punctuated a run that saw Yale take a five point lead at 12-7 and force a Big Red timeout. The Bulldogs ran off three more points after the stoppage, and Cornell Head Coach Sarah Bernson was soon calling her second timeout of the frame with her team trailing by seven points, 19-12. The final stretch of action saw Dailey and Hearst land service aces, as Cornell committed a host of attack errors to close out set two with Yale taking a 25-15 decision.

The third set was more of the same, as Yale took an early lead thanks to kills from Dailey, Johnson, Hearst and Wessels, and kept Cornell at bay to a score of 7-5. At that juncture, the Bulldogs fired off seven straight points, capped by Cordell’s second service ace of the match, to take a commanding 15-5 lead. It was all academic from that point forward, as a pair of late Ozurovich aces wrapped up the frame with Yale taking a comfortable 25-11 victory to close out the match in straight sets.

Cornell was led by six kills from Kelly Hansen and Deveney Pula. Jordan Reeder distributed 17 assists for Big Red, and Megan Mushovic had a team-best 16 digs from the libero slot.

The Bulldogs are back in action on Tuesday, as they wrap up the 2009 regular season with a 7 p.m. contest at Ivy League foe Brown.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity