VOLLEYBALL | Elis split games on the road

The Yale volleyball team had a weekend of mixed results as they took on Harvard and Dartmouth.

On Friday, the Bulldogs (18–4, 8–3 Ivy) defeated the Crimson (11–12, 7–5) in a hard-fought five-set match by set scores of 20–25, 25–21, 25–17, 16–25 and 19–17. But the next day, the Elis fell to the resurgent Big Green (11–11, 7–5) in four sets with scores of 20–25, 25–13, 25–23 and 25–20.

Against the Cantabs, the Elis faced an exciting showdown with their archrival in Cambridge.

“Harvard played really well,” Eli head coach Erin Appleman said. “In the fifth game, we battled every point.”

The Bulldogs, who went into extra points in the fifth set to secure the match, defeated the Crimson in dramatic fashion, marking Yale’s 12th straight victory over Harvard.

“Our seniors have never lost to Harvard,” Appleman said. “It’s a great honor for our athletes to have gone four years here without losing to our distinguished rivals.”

Outside hitter Alexis Crusey ’10 had a match-high 22 kills and 26 digs, while fellow outside hitter Cat Dailey ’10 contributed 21 kills and 20 digs in the win.

Opposite hitter Bridged Hearst ’12 also added 15 kills, and libero Kelly Ozurovich ’11 had 20 digs. Setter Kerry Clavadetscher ’13 dished out a career-best 63 assists.

“We were really into the Yale-Harvard rivalry,” middle blocker Haley Wessels ’13 said. “It came down to who wanted it more, and we did.”

By contrast, Yale suffered a significant letdown in Hanover, N.H. the next day against Dartmouth as the Bulldogs were defeated in four sets.

“We weren’t as prepared against Dartmouth as we needed to be,” Appleman said. “It’s the worst match we’ve played all year. We didn’t play with any passion.”

“We were awfully tired from traveling,” Wessels added. “It was hard to find the motivation at the end of the season after losing to Penn [last weekend].”

In the match, Crusey had her fourth consecutive double-double with 15 kills and 22 digs. Dailey posted nine kills and 13 digs, while Ozurovich recorded a season-best 31 digs. Hearst also contributed 14 kills.

Clavadetscher and fellow setter Kate Parker ’11 shared the setting duties with 24 and 20 assists, respectively.

As the Bulldogs prepare for their final home games of the season against Columbia this coming Friday at 4 p.m. and against Cornell on Saturday at 4 p.m., Appleman said she wants to impart the right attitude to her team as they approach the home stretch.

“I always think it’s important to have performances that matter, win or lose,” Appleman said.

This weekend will also be the last at home for seniors Crusey, Dailey, middle blocker Laurel Johnson ’10, outside hitter and captain Julia Mailander ’10 and outside hitter Lydia Mailander ’10. These five seniors are the reason behind the Elis’ success so far this year, players said.

“The seniors have made this team,” Clavadetscher said. “They are the source of our success and I believe will continue to be so in the upcoming matches.”

As their final two career games at John J. Lee Amphitheater near, Appleman reflected on what these seniors have meant for her.

“I’ve been significantly close to the last few classes,” Appleman said. “The ’08 class changed Yale volleyball. This class had the talent to get the job done. They are the most athletically gifted group of seniors I’ve ever had.”

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