After claiming their place atop the Ancient Eight, the volleyball team (14–7, 8–2 Ivy) must now defend their spot against fifth seeds Dartmouth (13–8, 4–6) and Harvard (7–15, 4–6).
Despite the Big Green’s ranking in the Ivy League volleyball standings, they have been a formidable team this season and have been able to challenge high-quality squads, including the Bulldogs. The Elis narrowly defeated the Big Green in the fifth set of their match two weeks ago, 15–12. The Big Green have momentum after beating Cornell (4–16, 2–8) in a tightly contested 3–2 victory last weekend.
Dartmouth is led by Madeline Baird, who was named Ivy League Player of the Week on Monday. She has 16 double-doubles on the season and is ranked second in the conference in kills, with 3.98 per set.
“Everyone in this league is capable of winning,” Kelly Ozurovich ’11 said. “We need to play our game and do what we need to do what we need to do to win, and just play Yale volleyball.”
The Crimson will rely on strong play from Teresa Skelly who has 129 kills and is in the top 10 in the conference with a .292 hitting percentage. On the defensive side, Harvard will look to Christine Wu, who leads the team with 4.24 digs per set and has a combined 365 digs this season.
The Crimson dropped a closely contested five-set match 2–3 against Columbia last weekend. The Elis defeated the Crimson 3–1 the last time the two teams played.
The Bulldogs feature 10 active players who have played all season. The group includes versatile freshmen such as Erica Reetz ’14 and Kendall Polan ’14. Polan received her fourth Rookie of the Week honor this week.
“Our team is very healthy for where we are in the season,” Ozurovich said.
The Bulldogs look to hold on to their spot atop the conference and need wins this weekend to keep their conference title hopes alive. Although the Elis have sole ownership of first place, Princeton and Penn have both played one fewer game than Yale and can take a share of the title if they just win the remainder of their games.
“We are going to keep the mentality to win,” Ozurovich said. “We cannot afford to relax now and we need to keep trying to win.”
Play begins against Dartmouth in the John J. Lee Amphitheater at 7 p.m. Yale will next face Harvard on Saturday at 6 p.m.