VOLLEYBALL | At Ivy midpoint, Yale tied for first

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Photo by Charlie Croom.

The volleyball team looks to stay neck and neck with Princeton at the top of the Ivy League standings this weekend against a struggling squad from Brown.

The Bulldogs (12–5, 6–1 Ivy) are coming off a 1–1 weekend that saw the team’s first Ivy loss of the season to Princeton. The Tigers simply proved too much for the Elis to handle as Yale fell 3–1 on Friday night. But the Bulldogs got back on track Saturday with a 3–0 sweep of Penn.

Yale and Brown (6–12, 2–5) met earlier this season in the Elis’ Ivy opener in Payne Whitney Gymnasium. In that match, the Bulldogs dominated from the get-go, winning a 3–0 decision by a cumulative score of 75–45. They limited the Bears to an anemic .021 hitting percentage while hitting .327 themselves. Head coach Erin Appleman said passing and serving will be the key this week.

“I think we just have to play consistent volleyball and we have to be able to pass and serve on the road,” she said.

Brown has not shown many signs of improvement since its last meeting with the Bulldogs, scraping by weak teams from Cornell and Penn in 3–2 victories for its only conference wins. The Bears rank near the bottom of the league in almost all of the major statistical categories. But the Elis said they are refusing to take them lightly.

“Everyone is really tough at home so you just have to prepare to play your best against everyone,” Appleman said.

One bright spot for the Bears this season, however, has been the emergence of freshman Maddie Lord. Lord is fourth in the Ivy League in kills per set and has been Brown’s most consistent player this season. But the Bulldogs shut Lord down in the first matchup between the teams as she recorded only two kills to go along with eight errors, adding up to a -.316 hitting percentage.

For the Bulldogs, McHaney Carter ’14 looks to maintain a hot hand. In the team’s past three matches, Carter has recorded 23 kills and a .479 hitting percentage.

Princeton, which currently shares first place with Yale, plays Penn on the road this week while Columbia, one game back, will take on Cornell at home. With both Princeton and Columbia playing struggling teams this week, a win this week is crucial for the Bulldogs to stay in the title hunt.

The match tips off at 7 p.m. Friday night in Providence, R.I.

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