It was a consolation prize that no one on the volleyball team really wanted. In truth, before the season began, a winning record seemed a given and the team had much higher hopes.

Nevertheless, the Bulldogs entered their last game of the season Wednesday night against Brown hovering at .500. When the Elis dropped the third game of the match to trail the Bears 2-1, it seemed that a losing season was a greater reality than their preseason Ivy title dreams.

However, the Elis accomplished what they had struggled to do all season — pull out the close games — and they rallied for an exciting 3-2 (25-30, 31-29, 26-30, 30-27, 15-12) victory in the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

In games two and four, the Bulldogs took mid-game leads but saw the Bears charge back.

All too often this season, late-game collapses cost the Elis chances to prevail in close matches, but Wednesday, the Bulldogs corrected the problems that had plagued them all season.

“I think we did it for ourselves in the end,” captain Betty Picinic ’03 said. “It was our last chance to play together, our last opportunity to show we could pull through in the tough games.”

Jana Freeman ’05 led the attack with 19 kills while Taryn Gallup ’04, Renee Lopes ’06, Lauren Burke ’05 and Alison Lungstrum ’04 all had double digits as well.

Joey Lee ’03 had a career-high 34 digs in her last match.

Jacqueline Becker ’06 had eight kills, 37 assists and 13 digs, setting the Yale record for assists by a rookie with 962.

With the win, the Bulldogs finished 13-12 (7-7 Ivy) and in fourth place in the Ancient Eight.

The finish surpassed last season’s sixth place finish but did not live up to the Elis’ early expectations.

However, the victory in the finale at least left the Bulldogs on a high note heading into the off-season.

“The win against Brown definitely put a positive spin in the season,” Picinic said. “It’s what was needed for us to look back and think we accomplished something. The season didn’t end as well as we thought it could have, but we proved that we have the heart and determination to beat a good team like Brown.”