VOLLEYBALL | Volleyball battles to victory — twice

After an early-season setback with successive losses to Penn (10–9, 6–1 Ivy) and Princeton (11–7, 6–1), the Bulldogs (6–2, 12–7) have won their last four regular season games, including two road victories over the weekend. After defeating Columbia and Cornell the previous week, the Elis triumphed over Ancient Eight foes Harvard (6–14, 3–5) on Friday and Dartmouth (12–7, 3–5) on Saturday.

Max Cho

“It is hard to win on the road,” head coach Erin Appleman said. “We needed a good performance from everybody to win.”

In their match against Harvard, the Yale volleyball team earned a 3–1 victory after four sets (25–23, 20–25, 25–22, 25–12), winning two straight games after the Crimson tied the set count at 1–1.

Harvard had an early 5–3 advantage in the first set, but Yale responded with a 6–0 run to take the lead. The Crimson tied the score twice at 15–15 and 19–19, but the Elis finally pulled ahead and won the set 25–23.

In the second set, the teams remained deadlocked until midway through the set when Harvard took a 15–12 lead. The Elis called a timeout to regroup, but were met by a 5–1 run by the Crimson. After another Yale timeout, Teresa Skelly sealed the set for the Crimson, 25-20, with a kill.

“We needed a moment to gather ourselves,” Erica Reetz ’14 said of the timeouts. ”We just needed to get our feet under ourselves, [but] we just were not clicking.”

The Crimson recorded a .342 team hitting percentage in the second set and 15 kills to come back and tie the match at 1–1.

The Elis took a 7–2 lead in the third set, but Harvard fought back and took a 19–17 lead. However, the Bulldogs went on an 8–1 run to take the game.

That momentum continued into the fourth set as the Bulldogs took a commanding 6–0 lead enroute to a convincing 25–12 victory, and the match win.

Haley Wessels ’13 accumulated 17 kills in the win against Harvard, while Bridget Hearst ’12 and Reetz followed with 15 and 14 kills respectively.

Yale faced a more challenging task against Dartmouth, barely edging the Big Green 3–2 (17–25, 28–26, 22–25, 25–13, 15–12).

Dartmouth came out and won 10 of the first 11 points in the first set, and held that lead for the rest of the game. The closest the Bulldogs came to cutting down on that lead was six points as the Big Green took the game, 25–17.

Dartmouth took a 6–8 lead to start the second set; however, this time the Elis were able to come back and level the score at 16–16. After a series of lead changes, a home team error and a Hearst kill sealed the closely contested second set for the Bulldogs, 28–26.

Following the pattern of the second set, both teams struggled to hold leads in the third. But after kills from the Big Green’s Kelsey Johnson and Kendall Houston, Dartmouth took the lead for good and won the set 25–22.

But the Bulldogs reestablished their play in the fourth set, taking a 6–5 lead and winning eight consecutive points, and the next 14 of 17 to build a lead that the Big Green could not surmount. The Elis took the set 25–13 to force a fifth game.

Yale looked like the sure winner of the fifth set, and the match, after an 11–5 start, but five straight Dartmouth scores put the Big Green back to within one point, 11–10. The Elis took the next two points, but Darmouth answered with two points of its own, making the score 13–12. But a crucial error by the Big Green, and a kill by Hearst, gave the Bulldogs the narrow victory.

“We all knew that we needed to step it up as a team,” Reetz said. “We were able to realize that we were not playing our best and were able to come back.”

Hearst led the team with 21 kills and hit .410 in Saturday’s game. Reetz continued her strong freshman season performance with 18 kills while Kelly Ozurovich ’11 added 23 digs.

The Elis return home for two games against conference leaders Princeton and Penn this Friday and Saturday.

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