VOLLEYBALL | Elis back on track

The volleyball team brought out the brooms this weekend. The Bulldogs (10–7, 4–2 Ivy) swept through Cornell (4–11, 2–4) and Columbia (5–13, 3–3) at the John J. Lee Amphitheater, and improved to 7–0 at home this season.

“Our team played their best volleyball of the year this weekend,” head coach Erin Appleman said.

The Bulldogs started the weekend with a complete offensive and defensive performance against Cornell, defeating the Big Red in three sets, 25–13, 25–17 and 25–13.

In the first set, the Elis raced out to a 6–0 lead, capped by a kill from opposite hitter Bridget Hearst ’12. Later in the same set, Yale took a 10–2 lead off a service ace from outside hitter Katie Cordell ’12. A four-point Bulldog run forced Cornell to take a timeout down 16–8, but kills from middle blocker Taylor Cramm ’12, Cordell, Hearst and middle blocker Haley Wessels ’13 sealed the set for the Bulldogs 25–13.

Cordell started the second game with back-to-back kills. The Bulldogs, up 8–4, ran off six straight points to take a 14–4 lead, culminating in a Kendall Polan ’14 kill set up by Kerry Clavadetscher ’13. The Big Red narrowed the lead down to 19–11, but that would be as close as they would get as the Elis went on to win the second frame 25–17.

Cordell hit .667 and had five kills altogether in the second set.

Yale and Cornell exchanged points to begin the third set, but the Bulldogs eventually put together a string of five straight points to take an 11–4 lead. Later in the game, Polan notched a kill to give Yale its biggest lead of the set at 24–11. Outside hitter Erica Reetz ’14 closed out the match off an assist from Polan.

“We’ve had trouble finishing games in the past,” Wessels said. “But we had a new mental attitude this weekend, and we made fewer errors.”

Yale posted a .336 team hitting percentage for the match. Wessels hit a match-high 12 kills and .667 hitting percentage. Reetz and Cordell each slammed home 10 kills, while Polan added 23 assists, eight digs, and six kills.

The Bulldogs continued their success into the next day, and stormed out to a 2–0 lead, withstanding a Columbia comeback to hold on to a 3–1 victory (25–17, 25–12, 25–27, 25–23).

Yale set an early tone with a quick start in the first set. A kill from Reetz and two Cordell kills gave Yale a 3–1 lead, from which they never looked back, finishing off the set 25–17 off a Hearst kill.

The Elis began the second set, scoring seven of the first eight points. With the score 14–8, the Bulldogs went on a 10–0 run, culminating in a Cordell kill. Yale went on to win the set 25–12.

With a 2–0 lead, the Bulldogs appeared to be en route to victory, but the team faltered in the third set.

“We did not come out as focused as we needed to,” Appleman said.

The Elis were within a point of ending the match in the third set. The team had a 25–24 lead and the crowd was on its feet, but Columbia responded with the next three points to force a fourth set.

The fourth set was a nerve-racking back-and-forth battle. With the score tied at 20–20, a kill from Erica Reetz off a set-up from Polan gave Yale the lead. Columbia responded with a kill before Hearst exploded for back-to-back kills, firing up the crowd and giving the Bulldogs a lead they would not relinquish. A Wessels kill sealed the match for the Bulldogs.

Hearst slammed home a match-high 16 kills, including six in the crucial fourth set. Libero and captain Kelly Ozurovich ’11 put on a defensive showcase with 32 digs. Cordell notched a double-double with 13 kills and 18 digs.

Yale is now third in the Ivy League standings, behind Penn and Princeton. The Bulldogs will go on the road next weekend to take on Harvard and Dartmouth.

“We have to find a way to get wins in the Ivy League on the road,” Appleman said. “The best teams always find a way to win on the road.”

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