October 9, 2008

Yale Volleyball to Celebrate 30th Anniversary

Oct. 9, 2008

NEW HAVEN, Conn.- As the Yale volleyball team looks forward to Ivy League clashes with Dartmouth and Harvard this weekend, the program will also take the time to look back as it celebrates its 30th anniversary. The 2008 Bulldogs enter the weekend riding a four-match winning streak.

"It is very exciting to be hosting the 30th Anniversary Celebration this weekend," said Head Coach Erin Appleman. "Having our alumnae and home crowd alongside for two important Ivy League matches will be a real boost to our energy level and enthusiasm."

Junior Alexis Crusey, the reigning Ivy League Player of the Week, leads the Bulldogs offensively this season. Crusey has amassed 4.09 kills per set, ranking her second in the Ivy League, and 3.37 defensive digs per set, which slots her at 10th. She has also posted the sixth-best hitting percentage in the league at .287 (143-40-359). Crusey, a two-time first team All-Ivy selection and the 2006 Ivy League Rookie of the Year, was named Most Valuable Player of the Yale Invitational and earned All-Tournament Team honors at the UAlbany Invitational earlier this season.

Junior middle blocker Laurel Johnson was named to the Ivy League Weekly Honor Roll for her efforts in the Bulldogs' pair of victories over Brown last weekend. Johnson hit a stellar .581 (20-2-31) to raise her season hitting percentage, the fifth best in the Ivy League, to .305 (67-20-154). Freshman Taylor Cramm also earned an Honor Roll slot last week after amassing 14 kills and 11 blocks in seven sets of work. Cramm is second in league with 1.05 blocks per set.

Senior Ally Mendenhall has been the second most prolific setter in the Ivy League this season, distributing a team-best 10.42 assists per set. The captain of the 2008 Bulldogs is also second on the team and ninth in the Ivy League in service aces with 0.28 per set. Mendenhall was named the Ivy League Player of the Week for her performance at the UAlbany Invitational earlier this season.

Supplementing the offensive attack is junior Cat Dailey, who has been a threat from every position on the court. Dailey is first on the team in service aces (0.31, seventh in the Ivy), second in kills (2.97, seventh) and blocks (0.56) and third in defensive digs (2.69).

As a team, the Bulldogs are leading the Ivy League in hitting percentage (.233), assists (12.22), kills (13.06), blocks (1.94) and service aces (1.58). The balanced Yale offensive attack features six players with an attack percentage of at least .200 and six players averaging at least one kill per set.

The 30th anniversary festivities begin as the John J. Lee Amphitheater as the Bulldogs (8-3, 2-0 Ivy) host Dartmouth (4-8, 0-2 Ivy) on Friday night at 7 p.m. Big Green is led by 3.00 kills per set by freshman Madeline Baird, ranking her sixth in the Ivy League. Junior Megan MacGregor is ninth in the league in kills with 2.92 per set. Kelsey Johnson, a sophomore middle blocker, ranks third in the Ivy in service aces with 0.36 per set and ninth in blocks with 0.70 per set. Other league leaders for Big Green include Natalia Wrobel (7th, assists, 8.14 per set), 2007 All-Ivy honorable mention Morgan Covington (4th, blocks, 0.84 per set) and Amber Bryant (6th, digs, 3.86 per set). Yale and Dartmouth split their season series in 2007, with each team winning on its home floor.

On Saturday, a noon alumnae match featuring the odd years vs. even years will see 30 years of Yale volleyball competing on one floor. Since 1977, the program has produced two Ivy League Championships (1978 and 2004), two Ivy League Players of the Year and 485 wins. The 2004 Yale squad remains the only Ivy League team to host and to win an NCAA Tournament match.

The official 30th anniversary celebration will be held at John J. Lee Amphitheater on Saturday as Yale hosts Harvard (7-7, 2-0) for a 4 p.m. match. Freshman Anne Carroll Ingersoll, the Ivy League Rookie of the Week in three out of four weeks so far this season, leads the Crimson offensively. Ingersoll is second in the Ivy League in hitting percentage with a .385 mark (124-27-252) and third in the league in blocks with 0.98 per set. Junior setter Lily Durwood has distributed a team-best 10.27 assists per set, slotting her at third in the Ancient Eight. Junior Katherine Kocurek and freshman Christine Wu both cracked the Ivy top ten in digs with 3.88 and 3.38 defensive digs per set respectively. The Crimson, who will travel to Brown on Friday before heading to the Elm City, is second in the Ivy League is service aces per set, led by 0.29 per set from junior Chelsea Ono Horn. The Bulldogs swept the season series from Harvard last season and have claimed victory in the last seven meetings overall.

After the match, current Bulldogs and alumnae will gather for a reception and dinner in the President's Room at Commons Dining Hall.

Looking ahead to next week, the Bulldogs will host two historically-tough Ivy League foes, Princeton and Penn. The reigning Ivy League Champion Tigers will be in New Haven for a 7 p.m. match on Friday. The Quakers come to the Elm City for a Saturday afternoon contest, with first serve scheduled for 4 p.m.

Yale Volleyball 30th Anniversary Website

2008 Yale Statistics

GameTracker live stats vs. Dartmouth (Friday, 7 p.m.)
Streaming video vs. Dartmouth (Friday, 7 p.m.)
GameTracker live stats vs. Harvard (Saturday, 4 p.m.)
Streaming video vs. Harvard (Saturday, 4 p.m.)
Payne Whitney Gymnasium

2008 Dartmouth Statistics
2008 Harvard Statistics

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity