VOLLEYBALL | Elis roll in season finale

In its final game of the season, the volleyball team finished the match as they have so often the past two seasons: with a win.

The Bulldogs (21–4, 11–3 Ivy) swept the Brown Bears (6–19, 2–12) by set scores of 29–27, 25–13 and 25–18 at the Pizzitola Center in Providence, R.I., solidifying their second-place finish in the Ivy League.

The match started off shakily for the Elis, as Brown grabbed a 17–13 lead in the first set. However, the Bulldogs slowly came back, forcing the set into extra points before seizing the set 29–27.

“We started a little rocky,” outside hitter Alexis Crusey ’10 said. “Once we got the momentum, we carried it into the final two sets.”

The narrow first-set victory gave the Elis new life as they went on to easily win the next two sets and the match.

“We settled down and played very well,” head coach Erin Appleman said.

Outsider hitter Cat Dailey ’10 led another dominant performance with 13 kills and 25 digs while Crusey added seven kills and 15 digs. Libero Kelly Ozurovich ’11 contributed 18 digs while setter Kerry Clavadetscher ’13 doled out 32 assists.

The match marks the end of a successful era of Yale volleyball. The departing Yale seniors have the best 4-year record of any class in the team’s volleyball history, an Ivy League Championship, and numerous other individual awards and records.

“It’s hard to think that my volleyball career is over,” Crusey said.

The loss of Crusey, outside hitter Dailey, middle blocker Laurel Johnson ’10, outside hitter and captain Julia Mailander ’10 and outside hitter Lydia Mailander ’10 will be tough to account for next season, Appleman said.

“I don’t think you can replace these seniors,” she said.

Ozurovich added, “I feel really lucky to have been able to play with them. I’m going to miss them a lot.”

Crusey finished her Yale career ranked third on the all-time kills list with 1,286 and seventh on the all-time digs list with 1,219.

Meanwhile, Dailey, the reigning Ivy League Player of the Year, finished her season as the Ivy League Player of the Week. The Cal-Berkely transfer has had 12 double-doubles this season, and she leads the Ivy League in kills (4.03 per set) and service aces (0.38 per set). Dailey was nationally recognized this week as a CVU.com (College Volleyball Update) Top Performer, an honor given to less than 15 Division I players each week. Dailey was also recently selected to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District First team.

Yale finished its season with a 0.84 winning percentage, the greatest winning percentage of any season in Yale volleyball history. Ozurovich said the record is great for the program and will help with recruiting.

As the Bulldogs say goodbye to one of the best classes in volleyball history, the team has already started looking forward to next season.

“We won’t be the forerunners anymore,” Appleman said. “We will now be underdogs.”

Next season may be nine months away, but the Elis are already preparing to fill the roles left by the departing seniors.

“Our young players will need to step up,” Ozurovich said. “I’m ready to take on the leadership role.”

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