The volleyball team continued its spotless Ivy League start this weekend with blowout wins over Dartmouth and Harvard. In matches characterized by large crowds and a noisy gym, the Bulldogs played some of their best volleyball of the season.
The matches marked the end of a five-game homestand that saw the Elis (11–4, 5–0 Ivy) win five straight matches. After taking care of business on their home court, the Bulldogs will now hit the road for three straight weekends.
After taking 10 out of its last 12 matches against Dartmouth (10–6, 2–3), Yale continued its dominance Friday night with a three-set sweep by a cumulative score of 75–47. The Bulldogs were led by reigning Ivy League Player of the Week Kendall Polan ’14 who notched 30 assists, 10 digs, seven kills and four service aces. But Polan’s contributions went beyond the stat line. Her overpowering serves often gave Yale an advantage even when they did not go for aces.
“When her jump-serve is going it’s really good,” head coach Erin Appleman said. “She had four aces tonight and [caused] numerous bad passes. She has a tremendous weapon.”
The Bulldogs completed the sweep in a third set in which the Big Green looked overwhelmed, committing nine total errors and ending the match by serving into the net.
The set put all of Yale’s talent on display. Gabby Bird-Vogel ’15 recorded her first two kills of the season to put the Bulldogs ahead for good, 21–11.
Yale continued its habit of shutting down quality players, limiting Dartmouth’s Madeline Baird to only seven kills and a .160 hitting percentage. Baird came into the game leading the Ivy League in kills per set.
“That just comes from the pressure from the service line,” Appleman said. “If we can get people to not pass perfect then it limits their options.”
It looked like it would be a close match early on. Dartmouth fought Yale all the way to an 18-17 score.
But the Elis would catch fire and never look back. Led by three kills from captain Taylor Cramm ’12, Yale went on a 7–0 run to take the set.
On Saturday, Yale entered a 5 p.m. matchup with archrival Harvard (9–6, 2–3). The Crimson came into the match off an impressive 3–2 win over perennial Ivy powerhouse Penn. But Yale provided a much stiffer test for Harvard, as it downed the Cantabs 3–0.
The Bulldogs came out ready to perform, gaining a 17–11 advantage in the first set. But Harvard regrouped during a timeout, scoring four straight points to bring the score to 17–15. Following a Yale timeout, Allie Frappier ’15 would cap a set-clinching 8–2 run as she popped the ball past the Harvard block with her left hand. The Elis built on this momentum in the second set, jumping out to an early 13–6 lead. But the Crimson would fight back to come within two points, 23–21. Mollie Rogers ’15 notched a huge kill and followed this up with a block assist on Harvard’s Sandra Fryhofer for the victory. The Bulldogs stood strong on more than one occasion in a match filled with Harvard comebacks that fell just short.
“Every time they started to come back, we just came together as a team, buckled down and decided that we wanted it and accomplished it,” Rogers said. “I think it was our attitude that really helped us.”
Rogers led the way for the Bulldogs, recording 14 kills and eight digs.
The Elis will now take their 5–0 Ivy League record on the road three weekends in a row beginning with matches at Princeton and Penn next weekend.