Yale Falls to Maryland in Five-Set Thriller

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Mollie Rogers. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

After winning first two sets, Yale Loses to Host Terrapins

College Park, Md. -- The Bulldogs came within one point of defeating their second ACC opponent in eight days.  Maryland escaped with a dramatic, intense five-set victory over Yale on day one of the Spring Hill Suites At Arundel Mills Terrapin Invitational.

Three of the five sets went to extra points, including the fourth and deciding-fifth sets.  Last Friday, Yale defeated Boston College, 3-1, in the season-opener and nearly pulled off another victory against an ACC team tonight.

Maryland topped Yale, 3-2 (16-25, 29-31, 25-19, 26-24, 18-16), in a 2-hour, 20-minute match that was an emotional rollercoaster, with both teams matching big play for big play in front of a raucous crowd of 267.  In the final set, fans rose to their feet during every rally to create a post-season type atmosphere.    

Freshman Mollie Rogers hit numerous important kills and posted a match-high 22 and added 12 digs.  On defense, five Bullldogs had at least 12 digs, including a match-best 27 from freshman Maddie Rudnick, who kept many rallies alive for Yale throughout the night.

In their fourth match of the season, the Bulldogs (2-2) came out with confidence and poise, and won the first two sets -- including a lopsided 25-16 result in the opener.

"I thought we played really hard in the first two sets and then took our foot off the gas pedal a little bit like young teams do, and Maryland took advantage," Yale head coach Erin Appleman said.     

The match statistics were as even as the score.   Both teams finished with 102 digs and 11 total team blocks, while Maryland held a 75-65 edge in the back-and-forth match.

After falling behind 11-6 in the fifth, the Bulldogs stormed back to tie the set.  McHaney Carter slammed  one of her eight kills to ignite a 6-1 rally to tie the set at 12. 

The Terps would capitalize on errors to re-take a 14-12 advantage.  But, the Bulldogs had more fight left.

After a Maryland miscue, team captain Taylor Cramm and Rogers combined to block an Ashleigh Crutcher attack to bring set back to a deadlock.

Crutcher and Caitlin Adams responded with a block for Maryland.  Rogers provided Yale with its next two points – both of which re-tied the set.

Tied at 16, Maryland broke through for the final time with back-to-back kills from Maddi Lee and Remy McBain respectively.

The fourth set was equally thrilling.

Down 22-17, Yale staged yet another comeback.  Again, Rogers was in the middle of the rally.

Rogers took a pass from Kendall Polan (51 assists) and deposited her fifth kill of the set.  Frappier kept the momentum going with a kill and Reetz added two more to help tie the set at 23. 

Yale took the lead after an attack error, but Maryland regained control with consecutive kills from Adams and Lee and held on.

Yale imposed its will on Maryland in the first set with quick 10-3 run to start the match.  Reetz epitomized the first half of the match with aggressive play at the net, including a nifty tip that resulted in a kill and a 14-6 lead for the Bulldogs. 

After the ball dropped to the floor, Reetz showed her emotion with a double-fist pump.  That energetic play showed throughout the team and helped the Bulldogs to a first-set win.

However, the second set win wouldn't be easy.  The Bulldogs needed 31 points to outlast the Terps and turned to Reetz – who provided nine kills during the set.

Reetz, a sophomore, also pitched in with seven of Yale's 43 digs in the second set.  Frappier and Rudnick were defensive standouts in the second with 12 and 11 digs respectively. 

"I thought we played great defense tonight," said Appleman, who had special praise for Rudnick, the team's freshman libero. "Maddie Rudnick played really well and controlled the backcourt."

On set point, it was Rudnick that kept the play alive with a one-handed dig to Polan, who set up Rogers for the winning attack to take the second.

After a grueling match to start the weekend, the Bulldogs will play tomorrow at 10 a.m. against Delaware.  Later in the day, Yale faces in-state foe Sacred Heart to wrap up play at the Invitational.

Earlier today, Delaware defeated Sacred Heart, 3-1.

Report filed by Ernie Bertothy, Yale Sports Publicity