Bulldogs Overpower Cornell in Straight Sets on Senior Day

Nov. 8, 2008

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - It may have been Senior Day at the John J. Lee Amphitheater for the Yale volleyball team's Ivy League match with Cornell on Saturday, but it was a pair of juniors that lit up Big Red to lead the Bulldogs to their sixth consecutive victory. Cat Dailey hit .526, slamming a match-high 20 kills on 38 swings without committing an error, and Alexis Crusey recorded her 11th double-double of the season with 15 kills and 13 digs to lead Yale to a 3-0 sweep by set scores of 25-15, 25-18 and 25-19. Crusey committed just one error on her 32 attack attempts for a hitting percentage of .438.

"Cat and Lexi both had outstanding matches," said Yale Head Coach Erin Appleman of her outside hitting duo. Dailey and Crusey combined to hit .486 in the contest. Their 35 kills nearly matched the output of the entire Cornell team, which finished with 40 kills on the afternoon.

The Bulldogs, winners of 13 of their last 14 matches, improved to 17-4 overall with the win and maintained first place in the Ivy League at 11-1. Cornell fell to 8-15 overall and 7-5 in league play.

Freshman Taylor Cramm also played an errorless match on the frontline, contributing six kills on 14 swings. Senior Ally Mendenhall ran the offense to the tune of a match-best 38 assists. Mendenhall, who also notched 10 digs for her ninth double-double of the season, and fellow seniors Kristen Wilk, Courtney Hall and Allison Kaptur were honored before the match for their four years of service in the Yale volleyball program.

"It was great for our seniors to get a win in their final home match," said Appleman. Winning at home is something that the class of 2009 is accustomed to, posting an impressive 24-4 record in Ivy League home matches in their careers.

The Bulldogs also played well defensively, led by a match-best 17 digs from sophomore libero Kelly Ozurovich. At the net, Yale outblocked the best blocking team in the Ivy League by a 6-2 margin. Dailey led the effort with four stuffs.

Cornell led the Bulldogs early on in the first set, nabbing 10 of the first 18 points to post a 10-8 lead. From that point forward, however, Yale scorched Big Red with a 17-5 run, capped off by a kill from Wilk, one of three from the senior in her final home match. Dailey and Crusey notched six kills in the 25-15 first frame. The Bulldogs hit a crushing .469 in the frame, registering 16 kills and committing just one attack error on 32 swings. Juliana Rogers matched Dailey and Crusey with six kills in the set to lead Big Red. Mendenhall doled out set-high 15 assists in the opening stanza, and Ozurovich led all players with eight digs in the frame.

Big Red once again hung tough with Yale in the second set, as the two squads split the first 10 points to a 5-5 deadlock. The Bulldogs promptly put together an 8-0 run to race ahead by a score of 13-5. The home team never looked back in the set and claimed victory by the eventual score of 25-18. Dailey led the way in kills with seven in the frame. Mendenhall posted the set best in both assists and digs with nine and eight respectively.

The 10-minute intermission preceding set three has been a season-long hindrance for the Bulldogs, and this afternoon was no different. Cornell jumped out to a five point lead at 14-9 in the frame, forcing Coach Appleman to call her first timeout. The Bulldogs responded with six of the next seven points to knot the score at 15-15. Yale claimed the lead for good at 17-16 and eventually closed out the set and the match with a 25-19 victory. Dailey once again hammered seven kills to lead all players in the set. Mendenhall distributed 14 assists in the frame, and Crusey recorded a set-high seven digs.

With the win, the Bulldogs improved to 24-19 all-time against Cornell. Yale, who also swept Cornell in Ithaca two week ago, has won the last four meetings with Big Red at the John J. Lee Amphitheater. Coach Appleman moved above .500 against Cornell in her six-year tenure at 7-6. The Bulldogs' 11 Ivy League wins ties the single-season high since the league expanded its schedule to 14 matches in 2001. Yale was 11-3 in the 2005 and 2006 campaigns. The Bulldogs have posted a 6-1 Ivy League home record in each of the last five seasons.

Yale remains in the driver's seat at the top of the Ivy League heading into the final weekend of Ancient Eight play. The Bulldogs will travel to Penn, which is still alive at 8-3 in league matches, on Friday night for a 7 p.m. showdown. Yale will then head to the Garden State for its final league match of the 2008 season: a clash with the defending Ivy League Champion Princeton Tigers at 4 p.m. on Saturday. The Tigers defeated Dartmouth and Harvard this weekend to remain tied with Yale in the loss column at 10-1.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity

video by Neil Horowitz '09, Yale Sports Publicity

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