VOLLEYBALL | Bulldogs looks to stay hot

The volleyball team stands atop the Ivy League with seven consecutive conference wins.
The volleyball team stands atop the Ivy League with seven consecutive conference wins. Photo by Henry Ehrenberg.

The volleyball team will kick off the second half of its Ivy schedule and try to extend its current eight-match winning streak this weekend when Brown makes the trip to New Haven for Saturday’s contest.

The Elis (11–5, 7–0 Ivy) will play just one match this weekend, instead of the two they normally play during the Ivy season. Yale will get a much-needed break after five-straight away matches followed by a weekend at home against their toughest Ivy foes, Princeton and Penn.

“Being home is going to be very nice,” setter Kelly Johnson ’16 said. “Being home [last] weekend was unbelievable. We really needed it. Having the time to recuperate is really going to help us on the court.”

The Bulldogs will look to build on last weekend’s two-win effort, which included a crucial victory over Princeton that launched Yale into sole possession of first place in the conference. Johnson was a crucial part of that victory and was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week for the third time this season. Against Princeton, Johnson had a team-high 19 kills and added 18 assists and 11 digs for her third triple-double of the year.

Outside hitter Erica Reetz ’14, who was a Second-Team All-Ivy selection last season, has continued her recent offensive surge to complement Johnson’s hot play. In the team’s first 11 matches, Reetz logged just seven kills total. But in four of the five matches since, she has hit at least eight kills to add another threat to an already potent offense.

Head coach Erin Appleman said Reetzs’ emergence is due to the improving condition of a shoulder injury.

“She’s getting more healthy,” Appleman said. “Her shoulder is back, and she’s been able to practice a lot more with us.”

Reetz will be a key component for the Bulldogs this weekend against a Brown (5–12, 1–6) side that is desperate to climb out of the conference cellar. Although they are tied for last place in the league, the Bears rarely go down without a fight, having been swept just twice in Ivy play this season.

In fact, the Bears are one of just three Ivy squads to take a set from Yale this season, a feat they accomplished in a 3–1 loss to the Bulldogs on Sep. 22. That match was characterized by a scrappy Brown defense that held Yale to a 0.213 hitting percentage, the team’s second lowest mark of the Ivy season.

Jesse Ebner’s ’16 serve will help keep the Brown defense honest. She leads the team and is tied for second in the conference with 0.34 service aces per set. Ebner delivered one service ace in the team’s first matchup with Brown and was good for three against Princeton last Friday.

“She has a tremendous serve,” Appleman said. “She has all along. It’s really nice to be able to have a middle [blocker] that can go back there and give points from the back as well as the front.”

The Bulldogs and the Bears will take the court Saturday evening for a 5 p.m. start time.

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