Although the Yale voleyball team will be absent from this year’s post-season tournament, the team proved that the season still has meaning for it.
The Bulldogs (7-10, 1-7 Ivy) — winless in the Ancient Eight through seven games — shut out first place Cornell Saturday, 3-0, for their first Ivy League victory of the season. The inspiring win came just one day after a loss that had typified Yale’s Ivy season — a 3-2 heartbreaker to Columbia (11-6, 5-3).
Yale thoroughly trounced the Big Red (13-7, 5-3 Ivy), 30-23, 30-25, 30-25. The Bulldog performance improved markedly in what could prove to be a turning point for the 2001 season.
The Big Red, playing exceedingly erratic volleyball, came up against a Yale team on top of its game. The Bulldogs out shot their rivals in every aspect.
Yale had 19.5 blocks in the match. Cornell had only 10. Yale had an attack percentage of 0.231. Cornell’s was zero. Cornell had only 51 defensive digs, Yale had 62.
“I really thought it was a team effort,” Lauren Burke ’05 said. “Every point really mattered to us.”
This team effort could be attributed to numerous solid individual performances. Six Yale players had at least six kills, with Dana Loberg ’03 and captain Carissa Abbott ’02 each making eight.
“We beat Cornell because we were finally able to finish through each game,” Loberg said. “We could complete the game without the other team coming back on us.”
Though Yale remained in control throughout the match, not all of its success could be attributed to the team’s skill and dexterity. Cornell was off its mark, with five of the team’s players sustaining negative hitting averages in the loss.
Yale’s success with Cornell was not evident in Friday’s Columbia match.
After Columbia won the first game, 30-24, Yale came back to win the next two, 31-29 and 30-27. The Lions snatched back the advantage in the next few frames, however, taking the fourth 30-20 and the final game 15-11.
Many of the same problems that plagued the team previously in the season materialized against the Lions. A minimal attack percentage of 0.159 was barely half of Columbia’s 0.305. Columbia had 63 defensive digs and Yale had only 48. Even in blocks, an area in which Yale is particularly strong, Cornell had 19, six more than Yale.
The match was close, nevertheless, mainly because of several strong individual acts for Yale. Loberg was again an important factor, with 11 kills and 14 digs. Lauren Burke ’05 also contributed, with 14 kills and 5 block assists.
The loss was Yale’s seventh straight and Columbia’s fourth straight win. It was an especially upsetting defeat for the Bulldogs as it marked only the Lions’ second-ever victory against Yale in the history of the program.
It remains to be seen if Yale’s emphatic win over Cornell will truly be a turning point for the team.
“Hopefully our energy will continue through the next three weeks,” Burke said.
The Bulldogs’ next match is Nov. 2 at Dartmouth.