Another bout of tough defeats awaited Yale volleyball against Pennsylvania and Princeton this past weekend. The Bulldogs (6-9, 0-6 Ivy) fell to the Quakers (10-4, 4-1 Ivy) 3-1 in Friday’s match, and then followed up that defeat with another disappointing 3-1 loss to the Tigers (8-7, 2-3 Ivy) Saturday.
Friday’s match at The Palestra began well enough for Yale. Penn barely pulled out the first game, 30-28, and Yale prevailed in the second, 30-26.
In the third frame, Penn frustrated the Bulldogs’ hopes with a 30-15 rout. Though Yale came back to lead in the fourth game, 17-12, the Quakers managed to snatch back the advantage. With a 30-26 win, Penn brought about Yale’s fifth straight Ivy loss.
The win was the 100th of Penn coach Kerry Major’s career, and it put her team in second place in the league.
“We knew Yale had a lot of strength blocking, so we really wanted to out-block them,” Major said. “But even though we out-blocked Yale, its outside hitters still put up good numbers — we never shut down their offense.”
Through the match, the Quakers posted 12 blocks — nine more than Yale. And the Penn team’s .232 attack percentage — a factor Yale captain Carissa Abbott ’02 felt greatly affected the match — was also much better than the Bulldogs’ .094.
“We had many errors — against Penn,” Abbott said. “They played very solid volleyball and made few mistakes.”
The road trip continued Saturday as the Bulldogs headed over to Princeton’s Dillon Gymnasium. Despite playing in a new arena, Yale was not able to make a fresh start. Friday’s mistakes reared their ugly heads and plagued the Bulldogs against the Tigers.
Princeton jumped out to an early lead, taking the first game 30-23 and the second 30-27. Despite an apparent comeback by Yale in the third game, crushing the Tigers 30-18, Princeton riposted with a fourth-game 30-18 win.
An unusual aspect of the Princeton loss was that several Yale players had strong performances. Freshman Jana Freeman had 15 kills and 16 digs, while Abbott and Dana Loberg ’03 had 13 kills each.
These sparkling individual feats, however, did not have a great effect on Yale’s overall numbers. While in the third game Yale had an attack percentage of .400, the Tigers dominated on the whole. Princeton’s attack percentage in the fourth game was .536 — Yale had a scanty .094.
After the Princeton loss the Bulldogs remained winless in the Ivies.
“The losses this weekend were extremely tough because we knew that we could have beaten both teams,” Abbott said.
Yale’s inability to perform against Ivy schools remains a mystery.
“I can’t tell my team to fix this trend,” Abbott said. “I honestly don’t know what is wrong.”
The Bulldogs’ next chance for an Ivy win is October 27 against top-ranked Cornell.