The volleyball team went into the first weekend of its season with the modest goals of beginning on a winning note and finding a cohesive lineup.

At the annual Yale Volleyball Invitational in the John J. Lee Amphitheater, the Bulldogs met their goals by splitting four matches and emerging with optimism from the two-day tournament.

Yale won its first match Friday by defeating Marist College 3-0 (30-12, 30-23, 30-27) but lost its second to Lehigh University 3-1 (30-21, 13-30, 30-25, 30-25). On Saturday, Yale defeated Sacred Heart University 3-1 (26-30, 30-17, 30-12, 30-9) before losing to the University of Memphis 3-1 (30-25, 15-30, 30-14, 30-24).

With all the visiting schools having played at least three matches–nine in the case of Memphis–gelling on the court and producing victories seemed a daunting task.

The team did about as well as could be expected.

“I think it was an excellent start to what will be a very exciting season,” Jessica Ronstadt ’04 said. “Even in the matches we didn’t win, it seemed like we were working harder than we had been in practice or even in previous seasons.”

According to Dana Loberg ’03, the team’s performance was impressive, and she expects things will fall into place as the season progresses.

“Getting to know who you’re passing to or who you’re hitting with just takes time,” she said. “The little things we need to work on will come with experience.”

In Friday’s 3-0 victory over Marist, Jana Freeman ’05 led the team with 16 kills while Loberg contributed 13 and freshman Renee Lopes added 12.

Defensively, the Elis were led by Kronstadt, who finished with 21 digs. Loberg and defensive specialist Joey Lee ’03 each added 15 digs.

Against Lehigh, Lopes, Freeman and Loberg again led the attack, while Kronstadt and Lee remained the defensive stars.

Standing out throughout the tournament was Jacqueline Becker ’06, the team’s new setter, who recorded 155 assists while playing 14 of the team’s 15 games.

“Jacqueline did an amazing job,” Kronstadt said. “All the freshmen who played did really well. It was their first college game experience, and they played like all stars.”

On the second day of the tournament, Taryn Gallup ’04 and Christy Paluf ’06 joined Lopes and Loberg in double-digits in kills against Sacred Heart. Gallup led the team with 11 kills against Memphis.

Kronstadt said that momentary lapses in concentration made the difference between the team’s play in its victories and its performance in its defeats.

“When we were losing, our communication wasn’t at its prime, and our general focus in concentrating on each individual point was lacking,” she said. “We just need to keep working in practice … and it should all come together.”

In starting the season 2-2, the Bulldogs accomplished their early goals. They were able to keep pace in the standings before entering Ivy League play while at the same time developing within the lineup.

Yale has two more weekend tournaments before league play begins against Brown Oct. 4. The team plays American University this Friday.