Even though the volleyball team didn’t close out their preseason with a win, they still got out of Brooklyn with a winning record for the weekend.
The Bulldogs (6-3) finished the Long Island University Invitational with two wins and a loss, knocking off Binghamton (6-9) and Towson (3-13) before falling to hosts Long Island University (7-9) in the Saturday afternoon finale. Alexis Crusey ’10 and Kelly Ozurovich ’11 were named to Yale’s all-tournament team, as a result of their stellar performances. From here on out, it will be nothing but Ivy League opponents until the end of November for Yale, who faces Brown on Saturday.
The Elis lost to Long Island in the final match of the invitational, 33-31, 30-14, 26-30, 30-26. Despite the loss, Yale out-dug the Blackbirds 97-95, and players said the team performed well and learned a lot from the match.
“I think we expected to have a tough weekend and to work on the things we have been working on in practice,” Maribeth Martens ’08 said. “LIU was a very tough team, so we learned a lot from the loss. Even though we didn’t win the match, we gained a lot of things from the match that we wouldn’t have if we won.”
The squad kicked off the invitational on the right note, defeating Binghamton, 30-18, 30-15, 30-26, at Brooklyn’s Wellness Center on Friday. On Saturday morning the Elis faced Towson, and it took a hard-fought third game to finally overcome the Tigers, 30-26, 30-19, 34-32. Going into the final match on Saturday afternoon with a 2-0 record, the Bulldogs seemed to be in prime position to take the title, but players said they were not complacent.
“We never go into a match expecting to win,” Julia Mailander ’10 said. “It was a good test for our team being our first time on the road. [LIU] was good competition, and we took away a lot of good things from it. It was a bit disappointing, not hugely disappointing.”
The loss was only the Bulldogs’ third loss this season, and each of their losses has come against a team that played in last year’s NCAA tournament.
Crusey, who had a match-high 20 kills, said the team was going to learn a lot from the loss. Crusey had 15 digs, two aces and two solo blocks.
“I thought we played well; there were definitely some tough teams in the tournament.” Crusey said. “But we can’t dwell on the loss. It’s something we can learn from.”
The Bulldogs will face the Bears (1-8) on Saturday at the John J. Lee Amphitheater in the first of a series of 14 consecutive Ancient Eight clashes.
“We’re very excited to have Brown here this weekend and start off the Ivies strong,” Martens said. “It was a tough weekend, but we worked very hard in our preseason and preseason tournaments. The team is looking to stay focused and work hard and take the Ivies by storm.”