VOLLEYBALL | Elis’ final home games

The 2009 Yale women’s volleyball season nears its finish as the Bulldogs play their two final home games of the season this coming weekend. The Elis (18–4, 8–3 Ivy) will host Columbia (11–14, 2–10) Friday and Cornell (6–17, 3–9) Saturday for Senior Day.

In addition to ending the season strongly after being virtually eliminated from the Ivy title race, the Bulldogs are seeking to rebound from a difficult four-set loss to Dartmouth last Saturday.

The Elis will be the favorites in both matches, having defeated both Columbia and Cornell previously on the road. Yale swept the Big Red in Ithaca on Oct. 16. The Elis went on to defeat the Lions in New York City the next day, winning in four sets with help from a dominant 27-kill performance by opposite hitter Bridget Hearst ’12.

The Bulldogs will no doubt rely on their defense once again in their final matches. Yale currently leads the Ivy League in blocks (2.15 per set), opponent hitting percentage (.145) and digs (18.41 per set).

Libero Kelly Ozurovich ’11 and outside hitter Alexis Crusey ’10 have anchored the Yale defense over the past few seasons. The two are currently tied for seventh on the Yale all-time digs list with 1,190 digs each.

The weekend’s matches will cap the brilliant careers of the Bulldogs’ seniors, a class head coach Erin Appleman said she considers the best she has ever coached. Crusey, along with outside hitter Cat Dailey ’10, middle blocker Laurel Johnson ’10, outside hitter and captain Julia Mailander ’10 and outside hitter Lydia Mailander ’10 will play the final matches of their Yale careers this weekend.

“This weekend will be an emotional weekend,” Appleman said.

Crusey and Dailey have dominated the Ivy League for the past two seasons, leading the Bulldogs to an Ivy League Championship and a first-round win over Ohio in the NCAA Tournament last year.

A three-time, first-team All-Ivy, Crusey ranks fourth in Yale history with 1,260 kills. Dailey, the reigning Ivy League Player of the Year, currently leads the Ivy League in kills with 4.02 per set.

“Hopefully we can take care of business in our own gym,” Appleman said.

Both games are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

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