It was another tough trip to California for the volleyball team.
Yale suffered three straight defeats to U.C. Santa Barbara, San Diego and Fresno State in the Bulldogs’ first trip back to the Golden State since falling to USC in the NCAA tournament last season.
Seven out of the 12 members of the squad are California natives, and the Elis were expecting to draw a good Yale crowd over the weekend. According to match reports on the Yale Athletics website, a good deal of the fans at Yale’s matches over the weekend were sporting blue and white, including an estimated 50 percent of the crowd for Yale’s 3–0 loss to San Diego on Saturday.“It was a great experience for the freshmen to kind of have a feeling of going home and seeing their family,” outside hitter Erica Reetz ’14 said. “That’s a unique experience. I think it was exciting for people to play in front of their friends and family.”
Yale faced its toughest opponent when it took on tournament host San Diego (8–2). Although the Bulldogs were supported by about 100 friends, family and volleyball alumni, they dropped the match in a shutout against the No. 16 ranked Toreros.
It appeared that Yale might catch San Diego off guard in the first set as they had done to Santa Barbara the night before. But with a narrow two-point lead at 15–13 the Toreros took off and scored eight straight points to secure the set.
Middle hitter Chloe Ferrari was the major thorn in Yale’s side all night. The junior, who was named an Honorable Mention All-American last season, totaled a match-high 13 kills on a pristine .812 hitting percentage.
Reetz said the Toreros were the best squad the Elis have matched up with this season.
“They were a very strong and athletic team,” Reetz said. “I think it was a good opportunity to kind of see that level of competition even though we lost that match and to think that there were moments where we could play with them. To have that knowledge and confidence going forward is important to the program.”
The Bulldogs (3–5) captured their only set of the weekend on Friday night against UC Santa Barbara, when setter Kelly Johnson ’16 recorded her second career double-double with 10 kills, 23 assists and ten digs. Yale struck quickly in the opening set and jumped out to an early 13–4 lead, capped off with a kill by Jesse Ebner ’16. Although the Gauchos (7–7) fought back, another Ebner kill gave Yale the 25–21 victory and a 1–0 lead.
But that was the last set the Elis won all weekend. They lost each of the remaining three sets against Santa Barbara by at least six points and finished the match with 29 errors, Yale’s highest total of the weekend.
After the shutout loss against the hosts, Elis managed to mount a greater challenge to Fresno State (7–5) for their last match of the weekend but still could not manage to capture a set in a 3–0 defeat. Yale improved as the match progressed, posting set scores of 18, 21 and 22 and improving their hitting percentage from .118 to .324 by the third set.
The Fresno State match saw the re-emergence of middle blocker McHaney Carter ’14. Carter, who was a steady contributor last season, had only played six sets in the team’s previous six matches and did not play against Northwestern on Sept. 8. But against the Bulldogs, Carter logged seven kills, the second highest total for Yale in the match, and hit .538.
The Elis’ next match will be the team’s only midweek game this season. The Elis take on the Albany Great Danes on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in the John J. Lee Amphitheater.