Yale Sweeps Dartmouth to Maintain First-Place Lead

Kerry Clavadetscher. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Kerry Clavadetscher. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Six different Bulldogs smashed at least four kills as Yale used a balanced attack in a 3-0 (25-8, 25-10, 25-17) sweep of Dartmouth at the John J. Lee Amphitheater on Friday night. Kendall Polan finished one kill short of a triple double for the Bulldogs, who won their seventh straight match and held their first-place position in the Ivy League with a 15-7 overall mark and a 9-2 record in league play.  

Penn and Princeton remain tied in second place in the Ivy League with 8-2 league records.  Penn defeated Columbia, 3-1 on Friday night, while Princeton beat Cornell, also by a 3-1 margin.  

Yale hosts Harvard on Saturday at 6 p.m.  The match marks the final regular season home match for the Bulldogs, who are now 10-0 on their home court this year.

Polan dished out 20 assists, posted 11 digs, and slammed nine kills with a .333 hitting percentage on Friday night against the Big Green.  Haley Wessels added six kills with a .400 hitting percentage for Yale, who used a fast start and never let up in intensity.

"I thought we had a great team effort tonight from start to finish," Yale head coach Erin Appleman said.

In the first game, Yale jumped out to an 8-2 lead after a Katie Cordell kill to force a Dartmouth timeout.  The Bulldogs kept up their pace.

Bridget Hearst's two kills and a Kelly Ozurovich service ace propelled another 8-2 spurt to give Yale a 16-4 lead en route to a first set victory.  The Bulldogs hit .526 in the first set with 12 kills. 

Back-to-back kills from Wessels, and another from Polan capped a 10-3 run to begin the second set.  The Bulldogs, who finished with 14.0 total team blocks, further built their lead at the net. Wessels struck for two block assists and a block solo, while Polan and Erica Reetz both added a block assist during an ensuing 7-1 spurt to push the Yale lead to 17-4. 

On defense, the Bulldogs held a 69-62 dig advantage, which included a team-best 19 from Ozurovich.  Cordell added 14 for Yale, which entered this week as the Division I leader in digs per set. 

Dartmouth (13-9, 4-7 Ivy) used a kill from Alissa Santa Maria to take an early 2-1 lead in the third set.  The Bulldogs quickly regained control.

Yale scored 10 of the next 11 points thanks to three kills from Cordell, and one each from Hearst, Wessels and Polan.  Dartmouth fought back.

Annie Villanueva posted two kills during a prompt 4-0 run and force Yale's only timeout of the night.  Yale capitalized thanks to three Dartmouth errors and a Polan kill to increase its lead to 15-7. 

Reetz eventually ended the set and match with her ninth kill of the night. 

Before Saturday's match against Harvard, the Bulldogs will honor Ozurovich, the team's captain and only senior on this year's roster.  Ozurovich became the all-time digs leader in team history earlier this year and currently ranks second in the Ivy League in digs per set.

 Report by Ernie Bertothy, Yale Sports Publicity