VOLLEYBALL | Bulldogs split battle of canines

In its final non-conference action of the season, the volleyball team split its weekend series with Albany, capturing a 3–1 win at the John J. Lee Amphitheater on Friday, then having the tables turned on them as the Bulldogs lost 3–2 at Albany (9–5) on Saturday night.

For the first match of the home-and-home series, opposite hitter Bridget Hearst ’12 added to her season count with 21 kills as Yale (6–5) rallied back from a slow start to sweep the final three sets (25–27, 25–22, 27–25, 25–13). The victory was also anchored with solid play from outside hitter Erica Reetz ’14, who recorded 16 kills along with 18 digs.

Captain and libero Kelly Ozurovich ’11, front, and outside hitter Erica Reetz ’14 go for a dig in Yale’s 3–1 win over Albany Friday.
Captain and libero Kelly Ozurovich ’11, front, and outside hitter Erica Reetz ’14 go for a dig in Yale’s 3–1 win over Albany Friday.

“She’s one of those rare players that just goes 100 percent of the time,” head coach Erin Appleman said of Reetz. “You ask her to do something, and she’s going to work really hard to get it done. She lays it out there every time she goes on the court.”

After winning a close second set, the Elis kept the momentum rolling after halftime. Reetz and Katie Cordell ’12 halted a furious comeback from the Great Danes by slamming back-to-back kills to close out the third set. With Albany’s last-second heroics flustered, the Bulldogs easily took the last game-winning set, 25–13.

“We were able to string plays together,” captain and libero Kelly Ozurovich ’11 said. “After our break, we really came together as a team to push forward and not look back. We needed to control the match.”

But with a strong offensive performance and stout defensive play from the Great Danes, the Elis could not complete the sweep on the road and lost a five-set match (15–25, 25–23, 21–25, 25–21, 15–8) to Albany the next night.

Albany’s Casey Wright smacked for 14 kills and delivered five solo blocks. Fellow teammate Teresa Coppiellie finished with a double-double of 12 kills and 15 digs. The Great Danes had 12 service aces and 10 total team blocks.

Despite the loss, the Bulldogs had four players earn double-digit kill totals. Reetz finished the night with 17 kills, while middle blocker Haley Wessels ’13 contributed with 13 kills. Kendall Polan ’11 recorded an impressive triple-double with 17 kills, 34 assists and 10 digs. Outside hitter Katie Cordell ’12 also tacked on 17 kills with her match-high 23 digs.

“Katie had an unbelievable match on both nights,” Appleman said. A demonstration on York Street by more than 300 people and at least eight arrests, including one Yale undergraduate, against a performance of “Paradise Now” “She probably played the best volleyball in her career this weekend.”

As the Bulldogs start preparation for their Ivy League opener against Brown on Friday, team captain Ozurovich is optimistic the young team can keep building on its experiences to play for the Ivy League title.

“Each time we go out there, different people are stepping up and helping us finish these matches,” Ozurovich said. “It’s nice to see the improvements we’re making each and every week. A lot of teams in the Ivies are good and, knowing that, each game matters. From here on out, we have to be focused and ready to play each and every time we step out on the court.”

Yale begins its Ivy League schedule with a home-and-home series against Brown this weekend. The Bulldogs travel to Providence on Friday for a 7 p.m. match before hosting the Bears on Oct. 2 at 6 p.m. at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

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