The Yale women’s volleyball team resumed play last night against Quinnipiac after last week’s matches were canceled because of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11.
The layoff had a noticeable effect on the Bulldogs, whose erratic play and many unforced errors turned what could have been a three-game win into a five-game struggle. But a strong performance by Taryn Gallup ’04, among others, led Yale (3-1) past the Braves (0-4) in two and a half hours of back-and-forth action.
Yale won the decisive fifth game 15-6, capturing the final six points with the help of a couple of devastating slams from team captain Carissa Abbott ’02. The penultimate point of the match came on a spirit-crushing spike by Abbott that ricocheted off a Quinnipiac player’s helpless forearms into the second row of the grandstands of the Payne Whitney Gymnasium.
Although the Bulldogs came away with the victory, the night was hardly five frames of fodder for a season-celebrating highlight video. The team came out flat with a decisive 30-23 loss in the first game. Quinnipiac’s Heather Grutta clinched the final point of the game with a nifty shot tipped over the Bulldog frontline’s outstretched arms.
In the second game, the Elis managed to quell the Quinnipiac storm. Gallup single-handedly excited the Bulldog team.
“Taryn played amazingly,” Abbott said. “She was the momentum changer; she was unstoppable.”
Gallup’s attacking style of play was indicative of the mentality that Yale head coach Peg Scofield wanted her team to adopt. During the fourth game, Scofield implored her team from the sideline to put pressure on the Braves.
“With the new [30-point rally-game] scoring system, if you do nothing, you will lose,” Scofield said. “The players stepped up big time [with aggressive play].”
Quinnipiac countered Yale’s aggressiveness with its own scrappy enthusiasm. And despite the loss, Braves’ head coach Makeba Davis was pleased with his team’s performance.
“This was a first-time rotation for us, and we implemented it in the third game,” Davis said. “I believe this lineup will take us to the conference championship.”
The Bulldogs host their own tournament this weekend, the Yale Classic, where they will face Brown in their first Ivy League match of the year. Yale will also play Iona and Sacred Heart.
“Brown is always up there [atop the league] with us,” Scofield said. “They are a strong team.”
Scofield and the team decided to cancel their scheduled trip out west last week prior to the athletic department’s announcement that all Yale games would be postponed through Sunday. So last night’s game provided an opportunity for the Elis to gauge their competence in match play.
“We really need to execute well and finish the ball,” Scofield said. “[We need to] make every play an opportunity to score.”