Volleyball splits a pair in league play

The Bulldogs may have succumbed to the Big Green, but at least they did not lose to the Crimson.

The women’s volleyball team (8-4, 2-1 Ivy) ended the weekend 1-1, losing to Dartmouth (11-3, 4-0) on Friday in New Hampshire, then rallying for a victory against Harvard (6-10, 1-3) in Cambridge on Saturday.

The Bulldogs headed to Dartmouth to start off the first of four conference road matches and battled hard against a tough team in a high-intensity match.

“They had a huge crowd come out, which created high energy atmosphere for the game,” middle blocker Kristen Wilk ’09 said. “A lot of things just did not go our way, and various factors added up to an undesirable outcome.”

The team lost to the Big Green in three games, by scores of 30-28, 30-20, and 30-19. In back-and-forth matches, the Elis were not able to push back against the Dartmouth momentum. Only three players threw down more than one kill each for the match, and the team’s kills per game decreased throughout the three games to only five kills in the third game.

Outside hitter Alexis Crusey ’10 led the Bulldogs’ offense with a match-high 15 kills and finished with 17 digs to score a double-double. Outside hitter Nicole Perkins ’08 and middle blocker Laurel Johnson ’10 knocked down ten and eight kills, respectively. Setter Ally Mendenhall ’09 contributed on both sides of the ball, scoring a double-double with 29 assists and 11 digs.

Rebounding from their disappointing loss Friday, the Bulldogs came out strongly the following afternoon to defeat the Crimson 30-21, 30-25, 30-18. The win continued a seven-match winning streak against Harvard and brought the team back to a winning record in the Ivy League.

“After a tough match on Friday, we knew we had to pick it up,” outside hitter Courtney Hall ’09 said. “The match really demonstrated our team’s character because even after a hard loss, we bounced back and played strongly.”

The Bulldogs stepped up their play offensively, smacking down 54 kills and limiting Harvard to 30. Crusey posted a season-high 22 kills to lead the team, and outside hitter Kali Nelson ’08 also contributed at the net with 11 kills. Mendenhall racked up her second double-double of the weekend with 40 assists and 11 digs.

The freshmen made a strong showing defensively with libero Kelly Ozurovich ’11 scrounging for a match-high 17 digs and defensive specialist Taylor Morgan ’11 contributing 15 digs. The Bulldogs outplayed the Crimson on the defensive end, tallying 60 digs to their opponents’ 46.

“It was good to chalk up a win on the road, and we hope to continue playing well in the upcoming games,” outside hitter Julia Mailander ’10 said.

The volleyball team will continue their Ivy League campus crawl as they travel to Princeton (11-3, 3-0) on Friday at 7 p.m. and then Penn (10-8, 2-1) on Saturday at 4 p.m.

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