Another weekend, another five-game thriller. But this time, the women’s volleyball team was on the winning side.
In the last two weekends, the Elis have dropped five-game matches to both Princeton and Brown. But the Bulldogs (8-5, 3-2 Ivy) broke the trend this week by edging Cornell 3-2 (28-30, 30-19, 25-30, 30-16, 15-13) at John J. Lee Amphitheater Saturday. The Bulldogs also defeated Columbia 3-1 (29-31, 30-14, 30-25, 30-22) Friday at home to go undefeated for the weekend.
“We did a really good job playing as a team,” captain Jana Freeman ’05 said. “We got two wins at home which is always a great thing for us.”
But the victory against Cornell (10-5, 4-2) did not come easily. With the score tied 12-12 in the final game, the Elis won two points off of kills from outside hitter Shannon Farrell ’07 to bring up match point 14-12. Cornell managed to stay alive by winning the next point, but Farrell and middle blocker Renee Lopes ’06 blocked the next Big Red attempt to win the match.
Farrell led the charge with 23 kills and 15 digs against Cornell, the fourth time she has had at least 20 kills and 15 digs in the last five matches.
“I did what the team needed me to do,” Farrell said. “I was able to perform well in crunch-time,”
Freeman and outside hitter Kali Nelson ’08 also had double-doubles. Freeman posted 15 kills and 21 digs, and Nelson notched 10 kills, 13 digs and seven blocks.
Despite the individual numbers, the Elis’ victory against the Big Red depended on their work as a team.
“The reason Saturday night was so great was because everyone played great,” outside hitter Anja Perlebach ’07 said. “Everyone was really a key player on the team.”
Perlebach added that the team’s execution was the deciding factor in the match.
“I would say against Cornell, our passing and defense was definitely how we won the match,” Perlebach said.
It was a close contest in the first game Saturday, with no team taking a lead of more than two points until Cornell went up 27-24. Yale rallied to tie the game at 28, but the Big Red tallied two straight points to win the game.
In the second game, the Bulldogs started with a 10-4 run and easily cruised to a 30-19 victory.
The Big Red came back alive in the third game. Yale led 18-17, but Cornell went on a 4-0 run to spark its push toward a 30-25 victory.
The Bulldogs started the fourth game with another strong performance, this time dominating the Big Red with a 14-1 run. The run eventually became a 20-6 lead for the Bulldogs, and Cornell once again could not match the momentum Yale had built up. The Elis won the game 30-16.
In the match Friday against Columbia (2-16, 0-6 Ivy), the Lions pounced straight out of the gate, scoring the first six points of the game. Yale recovered to tie the score at 19, but Columbia was able to retain the edge to defeat the Bulldogs 31-29.
As they have done many times before, the Elis rebounded in the second game and never looked back. Yale began with a 5-1 run, and then extended it to a 30-14 victory.
The Bulldogs continued their dominance in the third and fourth games, taking them 30-25 and 30-22, respectively.
Perlebach led all players Friday with 24 digs while setter Jacqueline Becker ’06 contributed a match-high 54 assists. Farrell paced the Bulldogs with 20 kills and 15 digs.
According to Perlebach, the Elis achieved everything they had hoped this weekend.
“I think finally we came together as a team and played an entire match at a high level,” she said. “We played very consistently.”
The two wins this weekend were also crucial in that they keep the Elis’ hopes alive for an Ivy League title.
“This victory was very important for the rest of our season,” Perlebach said. “Now we’re right up there in the hunt for the Ivy title still. Last weekend set the standard for what’s to come and I believe we can beat anyone in the Ivy League right now if we played like we did last weekend.”