VOLLEYBALL | Elis maintain winning streak against Cornell, Columbia

Erica Reetz ’14 recorded eight kills and 15 digs in the Bulldogs 3–0 win over Columbia.
Erica Reetz ’14 recorded eight kills and 15 digs in the Bulldogs 3–0 win over Columbia. Photo by Henry Ehrenberg.

The volleyball team extended its winning streak to four matches and did not drop a single set this weekend in its matches against Cornell and Columbia. The two wins kept the Bulldogs in a first-place tie with Princeton and put them over the halfway point of a five-match road trip.

Head coach Erin Appleman said that although the Elis are pleased with their start, they are still taking the Ivy schedule one match at a time.

“We’re 3–0 right now, so I’m happy with that,” Appleman said. “But I’m not looking past Dartmouth because they’re very good.”

The Bulldogs (7–5, 3–0 Ivy) steamrolled the opposition and outscored their Ancient Eight foes 150–108, with an average margin of victory of seven points per set against Cornell and Columbia.

In Saturday’s match against Columbia (7–5, 2–1 Ivy), Yale played relentlessly in offense, and six of the team’s 12 players recorded at least seven kills. Captain and middle blocker Haley Wessels ’13 led the group with nine.

On the defensive side of the ball, Yale was impressive as well. Only one Columbia player struck more than five kills and the Lions hit .154 as a group. One of the Lions’ top threats, freshman Atlanta Moye-McLaren, was shut down by the Yale defense and struggled with just two kills and a hitting percentage of zero.

“I thought our transition was very good,” Appleman said. “Our serving was aggressive for the most part and we did a better job in a couple areas we had been working on.”

Although Yale dictated the pace of the match for most of the night, it took a second-set comeback for the Bulldogs to pull off the sweep. After trailing 18–15, Yale went on a 6–3 run to tie the score at 21. Mollie Rogers ’15 and Jesse Ebner ’16 then hit two kills apiece to give Yale a 25–22 victory. That set added to Yale’s strong play in closely contested sets early in the Ivy schedule. The Bulldogs have won five of the six sets they have played in this season where the margin of victory has been five points or fewer.

“It says a lot about our team when you hit that 20-point mark and someone is on your heels and you are able to finish them off,” outside hitter Erica Reetz ’14 said. “It takes a lot of confidence for a team to do that and I think our team has done that over the past two weekends.”

This weekend’s domination began Friday night against the Big Red (4–9, 1–2 Ivy), who offered little opposition and held just three leads all night. Those leads all came in the first five points of the third set, which Yale would go on to win 25–14. Kendall Polan ’14, who finished the match with her third straight triple-double, logged three kills and six assists in the deciding set to pace the Bulldogs’ attack. She finished the match with 14 kills, 21 assists, 17 digs and a .480 hitting percentage.

Following three Ivy matches, the Bulldogs are already near the top of several statistical categories in the Ivy League. On the offensive side, they are first in hitting percentage, kills per set and assists per set. Defensively, Yale is second in digs and opponent hitting percentage, trailing Penn in both categories.

The Elis resume action on the road this Friday against the Dartmouth Big Green at 7 p.m.

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