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Bulldogs Win Sixth Ivy Title in Eight Years

Yale won its sixth title in the last eight seasons.
Yale won its sixth title in the last eight seasons.

The Bulldogs earned a dramatic victory on Saturday night in New York and clinched their sixth Ivy title in the last eight years.  It's the eighth conference title in the last 15 years for Yale.

Yale (16-7, 10-4 Ivy) will play Princeton next weekend in New Haven in a one-match playoff to decide the Ivy League's representative in the NCAAs.  The Tigers, who entered the night ahead of Yale by one match in the standings, lost in five sets to Dartmouth and the Bulldogs took advantage.

Yale battled back tonight to force a fifth set and blitzed the Lions in the final set.  The scores of the match were 25-17, 28-30, 31-33, 25-19 and 15-8.

"This was a total all-around effort and I'm so proud of the team," said Yale head coach Erin Appleman.  "We played great defense all night and served aggressively."

Kate Swanson had 24 digs and Megan Rasmussen had a career-high 22, while team had a season-high 97 for the match.   Rasmussen added 15 kills. 

Kathryn Attar posted a career-high 28 kills, including five in the final set, and delivered Yale's final two points of the match.  Her standout performance went beyond hitting.

"Along with the kills, Kat passed well and played great defense," Appleman said. 

Tristin Kott had season-high 16 kills and hit .385.  Kott tied the fifth set at 3-3 and began a stretch of three straight Yale points, and a run of eight of the next 10.

Columbia pulled to within 5-4, and Chiara Spain and Attar went back to back on kills.  The Bulldogs seized the momentum one more time. 

The Lions had attack errors on the next two points, and Attar added another kill to give Yale a commanding 10-4 lead.

The teams traded points before Rasmussen and Attar notched kills on consecutive points to make it 13-5.  

A night after a tough loss at Cornell and a long bus ride, the Bulldogs came out strong in the first set.  Yale bolted out to a 10-5 lead after block assists from Spain and Kelley Wirth.  

The next two sets went to extra points with the Lions taking both.  With the season on the line, the Bulldogs stepped up and hit .438 in the fourth. 

Kott started the fourth with a kill, and after a Lions' error, the sophomore combined with Izzy Simqu to give the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead.  Later in the set, captain Kelsey Crawford set up Simqu to give Yale a 15-8 edge en route to setting up a deciding fifth game. 

Bulldog Notes:

The Bulldogs earned the right to host the one-match Ivy playoff against Princeton because Yale won four of the seven sets played between the two teams this season...The exact date and time of the playoff has yet to be determined, except that it will be played next weekend...Yale is 42-14 in Ivy League play over the last four seasons...After not playing a five-set match in their first 18 matches, the Bulldogs have played three in the last five matches...Four different Bulldogs had a double doubles (Attar, Rasmussen, Swanson and Franny Arnautou)...Kott has had at least 10 kills in eight of her last 10 matches...Attar is the first rookie to lead the Bulldogs in kills during the regular season since Mollie Rogers in 2011...About a dozen Yale volleyball alums attended the match and first broke the news to the Yale coaching staff that Princeton had lost at Dartmouth to set up a one-match playoff.

Report filed by Ernie Bertothy, Yale Sports Publicity