The bar has been set for the Ivy League season.
With a home court advantage and enthusiastic crowd support, the women’s volleyball team (7-3) overpowered Brown (2-9) in their first conference match on Saturday in a 30-19, 30-28, 30-26 victory. In games that got progressively closer throughout the match, the Bulldogs maintained enough composure to finish off their opponents. Outside hitter Alexis Crusey ’10 led the team with a match-high 12 kills and completed her double-double with 15 digs.
Despite being disappointed by the numerous mistakes made throughout the match, several teammates said the most important factor was coming out with their first conference win.
“It is a really great feeling to start off 1-0 in Ivy play,” outside hitter Julia Mailander ’10 said. “We are looking to build on that in our upcoming play.”
The Bulldogs started off strong in the first game with 13 kills and only five hitting errors. They maintained a steady lead throughout the game and never let the Bears catch up.
The second game was a similar story until a few Brown rallies brought the score to only a four-point difference, 24-20, with the Bulldogs still on top. The race to 30 points came as close as 27-26 before Crusey stepped up for the winning kill.
The play in game three was even more closely matched, highlighted by nine ties and five lead changes. The back-and-forth play caused excitement among the crowd, and the fan support helped keep the team motivated, teammates said.
The Bulldogs fought hard and ended up closing out the game with a win and 14 kills. The team also tallied a match-high 12 hitting errors, and hitting percentages steadily decreased in the three games from .205 in the first to .038 in the third.
“We made too many errors for what I like,” head coach Erin Appleman said. “I was a little disappointed with the hitting percentages.”
Numerous errors alongside the Bears’ strong defense combined and created a highly intense match. Brown’s libero Katie Lapinski, who was named first team All-Ivy League last season, scrambled for an impressive 16 digs. Three other Brown players put up at least 10 digs each, demonstrating their defensive force and ability to fight back against the Bulldogs’ top hitters.
But the Bears’ tough defense could not stop the Elis from dominating offensively with 49 kills over their opponents’ 33 kills. Yale also answered back defensively, with 57 digs. Libero Kelly Ozurovich ’11 contributed with a match-high 17 digs to maintain her defensive presence on the court for the Bulldogs. Mailander had an all-around strong performance with 11 kills, five digs, five blocks and three service aces.
The Elis have a busy weekend coming up, with an away match on Friday at Dartmouth followed by a home match in John J. Lee Amphitheater against Ivy rival Harvard.
“We need to take it game by game, but we are really excited to play in more conference matches,” Crusey said.