Oct. 17, 2008
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Although the Yale volleyball team was a perfect 4-0 in Ivy League play entering Friday night, the team to beat in the Ancient Eight was in the visitor's locker room of the John J. Lee Amphitheater: The Princeton Tigers. But on the back of a solid team effort that six players garner four or more kills, the Bulldogs knocked off Princeton, the 2007 Ivy League Champions and winner of its last 18 league matches dating back to 2006, 3-0 by set scores of 25-17, 25-21 and 25-23.
Yale is now 11-3 overall and 5-0 in Ivy League play. The Tigers fell to 9-3 and 3-1 in league matches. Yale has won its last seven matches overall.
Junior Alexis Crusey led the Bulldogs offensively with 11 kills, but the story of the match was the balanced Bulldog attack.
"Everybody played great tonight from the first point to the last," said Yale Head Coach Erin Appleman. "We knew what we needed to do, and we came out with the necessary intensity and execution to win."
Junior Cat Dailey, the reigning Ivy League Player of the Week, was right behind Crusey with nine kills, while also amassing 11 digs. Junior Laurel Johnson had seven kills on 17 swings with just one attack error for a .353 hitting percentage. Senior Ally Mendenhall ran to offense to the tune of a team-high 31 assists. In the process, Mendenhall moved into third all-time on the Bulldogs' assist list with 2,700 in her career. The captain of the 2008 Bulldogs also recorded 10 digs to notch a double-double. Sophomore libero Kelly Ozurovich led all players with 19 digs.
As a team, the Bulldogs dominated the net, posting 12 blocks compared to just two for the Tigers. Crusey notched four blocks, all solo. Freshmen Bridget Hearst and Taylor Cramm also compiled four blocks apiece.
In the first set, the Bulldogs earned two of the first three points of a quick 2-1 lead and never looked back. Crusey and Johnson each had four kills to pace the Yale offense, which committed only four errors en route to a .278 hitting percentage, to a 25-17 victory. Princeton had 13 kills and six errors on 43 swings for a .163 percentage.
Yale jumped out to another quick advantage in the second set at 6-5, but Princeton never allowed the Bulldogs to build a lead larger than four points. The Tigers battled to within a point at 20-19 to induce a Yale timeout, but the Bulldogs responded with five of the last seven points to claim a 25-21 win. Cat Dailey hit .400 in the stanza, notching five kills and committing just one error on 10 swings.
The third set has been an obstacle for the Bulldogs all season, and Princeton was determined to exploit that. Yale led by as many as seven points in the set at 19-12, but Princeton pieced together an 8-3 run to close the gap at 22-20. The teams traded the last six points from there, with a Johnson kill punctuating the Bulldogs' sweep with a 25-23 third-set win.
Lindsey Ensign led Princeton with a match-best 12 kills and posted a solid .455 hitting percentage. Bailey Robinson notched a match-high 35 assists, and Hillary Ford led the Tigers with 15 digs. Parker Henritze, the 2007 Ivy League Player of the Year, managed nine kills while committing eight errors on 34 attempts for a .029 hitting percentage.
The Bulldogs will be back in action tomorrow as the Penn Quakers, 1-3 in Ivy League play after a loss at Brown tonight, come to the Elm City. First serve is scheduled for 4 p.m.
report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity
Video by Neil Horowitz '09, Yale Sports Publicity