VOLLEYBALL | Elis can clinch title with wins

The volleyball team is two wins away from winning their second Ivy League title in three years.

With two games remaining in the regular season, the volleyball team (16–7, 10–2 Ivy) can secure its spot atop the Ancient Eight with wins on the road over fourth seed Columbia (15–8, 7–5) and seventh seed Cornell (4–18, 2–10).

“We’re going into this weekend with an all-out, every ball matters, aggressive mentality,” captain Kelly Ozurovich ’11 said. “We need to keep focusing on our game plan and fight for every point.”

Although the Lions’ record in the Ivy League Conference has not been stellar, the Lions have been especially dangerous to the top seeds this season. Last weekend, the Lions were within two points of defeating second seed Penn and lost in five sets. Columbia then came back the following night and swept the season head-to-head series against Princeton in a 3–1 victory.

Columbia will rely on strong play from Megan Gaughn, who leads the team with 334 kills on the season. On the defensive end, the Lions will look to Katherine Keller who leads the team with 4.67 digs per set.

“Columbia has been playing really well this season but we’re still just trying to focus on us,” Ozurovich said. “We can’t control what the other team does so we’re just going to keep focusing on us.”

The Big Red will need help from Jordan Reeder who is fifth in the conference with 8.82 assists per set and ninth in service aces per set with 0.23. On the offensive end, Kelly Hansen leads the team and is ninth in the conference with 2.65 kills per set.

The last time the two teams faced each other, Yale won 3–1 (25–13, 25–17, 25-13). Although Cornell lost, Hansen led the team with eight kills and notched a .500 hitting percentage.

“It’s definitely harder to play on the road [when] you’re playing against other crowds in gyms you’re not used to,” Ozurovich said. “But, that being said, the better team will usually come out on top no matter what.”

These are the final two matches in the regular season for the Bulldogs. Despite winning both its matches this weekend, they could finish in a tie with Penn, which has played one less match than the Elis and is consequently in second place currently.

If the Elis were to win both matches, the Quakers would have to defeat Harvard, Darthmouth and Princeton to force a playoff game between Yale and Penn to see who enters the NCAA tournament.

Play begins against Columbia at the Levien Gymnasium at 7 p.m. Yale will then travel to Cornell’s Newman Arena to play on Saturday at 6 p.m.

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