It’s lonely at the top.
After going 2–0 against Columbia and Cornell this weekend, the Bulldogs now sit alone in first place in the Ivy League. Although the Elis shared the ranking with Princeton last week, the Tigers dropped a crucial match to Dartmouth on Friday night to fall to second place.
After the weekend, Yale is 9–1 in Ivy League play, one match ahead of Princeton, at 8–2. As the Bulldogs become tasked with holding onto the lead, McHaney Carter ’14 said staying on top is all about practice.
“We need to keep the pedal to the metal and keep putting in the effort that we have been putting into practice [in order] to continue,” Carter said.
For the fourth straight season the Elis (15–5, 9–1 Ivy) swept their tour of New York’s Ivies, an annual trip that includes matches against Columbia and Cornell. Yale kicked off this season’s trip by heading to New York City for a Friday night matchup with the Columbia Lions (13–7, 7–3). Friday’s match was a big one for both teams. Although a win for the Lions would have tied them with Yale to vie for the Ivy title, the loss will make it difficult for them to climb back in. Carter said knowledge of the game’s importance helped the Bulldogs prepare for the match.
“We knew that Columbia was a big game, so I think everyone was really excited to play,” Carter said. “It definitely pumped us up and made us ready to play.”
The Elis proved to be the tougher team all night. After coming out and dropping the first set 25–23, Yale was able to rebound and win three straight sets for a 3–1 victory. The Bulldogs found their rhythm after that first set, winning the second set 25–19 and cruising to a 25–13 blowout victory in a third set during which they never trailed.
But Columbia refused to go down without a fight. With the Bulldogs leading 13–9 in a potential match-clinching fourth set, the Lions went on a 14–8 run to capture a 23–21 advantage. With the Yale victory hanging in the balance, the team regrouped with a timeout.
“I just told the team to continue to be aggressive and play good volleyball,” head coach Erin Appleman said.
The team came out of the timeout and scored four straight points to capture a come-from-behind 25–23 victory, wrapping up a 3–1 match victory.
Allie Frappier ’15 recorded 22 kills in one of the best matches any Bulldog has had this season. Frappier’s performance overshadowed another great showing from outside hitter Erica Reetz ’14, who added 15 kills for a .520 hitting percentage.
The Elis followed Friday’s showing in a sweep of Cornell (4–18, 2–8) on Saturday for the second time this season.
Yale meant business right away, opening up the first set with a 6–0 run that set the tone for the rest of the match. The Bulldogs eventually took the set 25–12.
The second set did not prove so easy for Yale. Cornell traded points with the Bulldogs until the score was knotted up at 16. But Yale proceeded to go on a 9–4 run behind two kills from Haley Wessels ’13. With Yale up 2–0, the Big Red trailed the entire third set to drop the match, 3–0.
With the weekend’s trip to New York, the Elis finished a stretch of five conference matches on the road that included trips to Princeton, Penn, Brown, Columbia and Cornell. The Bulldogs will be back in New Haven this weekend with matches against Penn and Princeton in Payne Whitney Gymnasium.