VOLLEYBALL: Elis finally stumble

In their first back-to-back Ivy League home stand of the season, the women’s volleyball team had mixed results, splitting games against Princeton and Penn.

On Friday, the Bulldogs (12-2, 2-1 Ivy) earned an impressive three-set victory of over the Princeton Tigers (3-11, 1-2). But the Elis fell in a heartbreaking five-set match against the Penn Quakers (12-4, 3-0) the following afternoon.

Outside hitter Alexis Crusey '10 spikes the ball in the Elis' 3-0 home victory over Princeton on Friday.
Max Cho
Outside hitter Alexis Crusey '10 spikes the ball in the Elis' 3-0 home victory over Princeton on Friday.

In the match against the Tigers, the Elis controlled the game from the opening serve, winning the three sets 25-21, 25-22, 25-21.

Outside hitter Cat Dailey ’10 slammed home a match-best 14 kills, while setter Kerry Clavadetscher ’13 dished out 42 assists. Opposite hitter Bridget Hearst ’12 had 11 kills. The Bulldogs’ offense was rounded out by outside hitter Alexis Crusey ’10, who had 10 kills. Crusey, who has been the floor captain of the team, has 122 kills and 130 digs so far this season.

“We played well,” libero Kelly Ozurovich ’10 said. “We got the job done.”

Despite winning the game over the Tigers, the Bulldogs still felt they could have played better.

“There were a lot of things that we could have executed better,” head coach Erin Appleman said of her team’s performance against Princeton.

However, on Saturday the Bulldogs lost a thrilling five-set match to the Quakers that could not have been closer. The final score of 25-23, 19-25, 25-21, 25-27, 15-13, featured 25 ties and 11 lead changes.

“It was pretty heartbreaking,” outside hitter Julia Mailander ’10 said.

Dailey led all players with 26 kills and also had 16 digs. Clavadetscher had 48 assists.

“It was definitely difficult the entire time. It was a battle all the way through,” Ozurovich said of the intensity of their closest match of the season. “We’re very evenly matched.”

Losing such a tough match was not easy, particularly when it was on Family Weekend.

“We were very frustrated,” Ozurovich said of her team’s reaction.

Appleman, who said that she was proud of her players for playing their hearts out, attributed the loss to a sluggish start to the contest against Penn.

“We started the match not going for it,” Appleman said.

The bitter loss snapped the Elis’ eight-match winning streak, a 10-match home win streak, and a 10-match Ivy League win streak for the Bulldogs.

Nevertheless, the team looks forward to a long season in which they can atone for this loss.

“We are only three games into the conference. We still have 11 more games to go,” Appleman said.

Despite the mixed weekend, Ozurovich managed to make some noise of her own in earning a spot on the top-10 Yale all-time digs list after notching 17 digs in each of the two matches.

“You have to read the play,” Ozurovich said of the process of making a dig. “Be in your position and be ready to move.”

Ozurovich said that studies scouting reports of the opposing team’s hitters to learn their tendencies and anticipate where they strike the ball.

“Every ball that comes my way needs to go up,” Ozurovich said.

Next up for the Bulldogs lies the first road trip of the Ivy League season, with a visit to Cornell on Friday followed by a match at Columbia on Saturday.

“Good teams have to win on the road,” Appleman said of the importance of these games.

Despite the Penn loss, the Bulldogs anticipate great things for the rest of the year.

“We also lost the exact same match last year and still won Ivies,” Ozurovich said.

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