VOLLEYBALL | Elis bounce back against Albany

Setter Kendall Polan ’14 and middle blocker Jesse Ebner ’16 had a combined 20 kills in 32 attempts in last night’s match against Albany.
Setter Kendall Polan ’14 and middle blocker Jesse Ebner ’16 had a combined 20 kills in 32 attempts in last night’s match against Albany. Photo by Henry Ehrenberg.

Members of the volleyball team put an 0–3 weekend behind them and finished off their nonconference schedule in emphatic fashion on Wednesday night with a 3–0 trouncing of Albany in the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

The Elis’ strong play was a welcome sight after they won just one set against three difficult opponents during a trip to San Diego, Calif., last weekend. Head coach Erin Appleman said that the win puts Yale into a good position heading into conference play.

“I was really proud of them tonight,” she said. “I think it helps getting that win and having confidence going in [to the weekend].”

The Bulldogs took the match in just one hour and 16 minutes and put Albany through a thorough beating in the process. The Great Danes scored just 44 points to Yale’s 75 and mustered a measly .140 hitting percentage. Meanwhile, Yale hit .378, accumulated 51 assists and had three players hit double-digit kills.

Appleman said she saw encouraging improvements from everybody on the court.

“We’ve been working on a couple things, and we were able to demonstrate that tonight,” she said. “Our serving and passing was much better tonight, and I thought the middles were very good.”

Outside hitter Mollie Rogers ’15 was the offensive leader for Yale with 12 kills while middle blocker Jesse Ebner ’16 and setter Kendall Polan ’14 combined to log 20 kills in just 32 attempts.

On the other side of the net, Albany’s greatest offensive threat, Sara Pope, did not manage to mount much of a challenge to the Yale defense. Pope, who is leading the Great Danes with 2.36 kills per set, posted just five kills on 18 attempts for a .222 hitting percentage.

It looked like it might be a closely contested match after the first set. Following a kill from Albany’s Gabby Whitworth midway through the set, the Bulldogs led just 17–16. But an Albany service error sparked a Yale surge. Captain and middle blocker Haley Wessels ’13 notched three kills, including the final one of the set, and Yale closed Albany out, 25–19 result.

Yale did not look back after that. In both the second and third sets the team took early 7–3 leads and led the rest of the way for 25–14 and 25–11 victories. Libero Maddie Rudnick ’15 said that the success of the first set set the stage for the rest of the game.

“We had more confidence after the first set,” she said. “Sometimes we let down a bit but we just pushed even harder tonight throughout the second and third sets.”

The Bulldogs will begin their conference schedule on the road this weekend when they travel to Brown for a 2 p.m. match on Saturday.

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