The volleyball team is off to one of the program’s strongest openings. The Bulldogs matched a season starting best of 11-1 after sweeping the Brown Bears on Friday night at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.
The team dispatched Brown in set scores of 25-15, 25-11 and 25-11. Senior outside hitter Cat Dailey ’10 had a match-best 10 kills and nine digs, while setter Kerry Clavadetscher ’13 had a match-best 21 assists. Outside hitter Alexis Crusey ’10 and middle blocker Laurel Johnson ’10 each contributed eight kills.
“We had a lot of energy on Friday,” Coach Erin Appleman said of her team’s performance. When asked about the Bulldogs’ record start, Appleman added: “I don’t look at records. I just want us to get better every day and to be the best we can be. I just want us to play hard.”
Appleman cited her veteran players as a source of the team’s success. “It helps to have solid talent who play consistently,” she said.
The Bulldogs last started 11-1 in 2005, when they finished 20-4 with an 11-3 record in the Ivy League.
Furthermore, libero Kelly Ozurovich ’11 made history Friday, becoming the 12th player in Yale volleyball history to achieve 1,000 digs for her career. Ozurovich had a match-best 15 digs in the three games.
“I was really happy,” Ozurovich said about her record. “I’ve wanted to accomplish great things here, so it feels really good.”
Opposite hitter Bridget Hearst ’12 added seven kills on top of 10 errorless swings.
The Bulldogs have now won nine consecutive home games and seven straight against Brown.
Crusey, the team’s floor captain who is ninth on the Yale all-time digs list, said she was particularly pleased with the match’s result.
“We’ve been anticipating the Ivy season,” she said. “You never know what to expect, but our performance shows we can thrive under the pressure.”
Crusey has played an integral role in the Bulldogs’ success, amassing 103 kills and 110 digs so far this season. “I’ve focused hard on leading by example,” she said.
The Bulldogs’ hot start is particularly impressive given that Appleman said injury and sickness problems continue to plague the team. The Bulldogs are returning most of their players from last season’s Ivy League championship team, but have managed to remain hungry and focused through the first 12 games.
The Elis next have home games against the Princeton Tigers on Friday, Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. and against the Penn Quakers on Saturday, Oct. 10 at 4 p.m.
“This weekend will be tough competition. We’re extremely focused,” Ozurovich said. “Princeton and Penn are both really good teams.”
The volleyball team has grand expectations for the rest of the season. Crusey, the captain, said she expects a repeat performance as Ivy League Champions.
“I have confidence in my team that we will win the Ivy,” she said. “There is no doubt in my mind.”