As the Bulldogs return home from a long road trip, they are looking to widen the gap between themselves and the rest of the pack.
Yale (15-4, 9-1 Ivy), the top-ranked team in the league, will host Columbia (5-14, 0-10) and Cornell (7-13, 6-4) in the last home stand of the year.
In their past four games on the road, the Bulldogs did not relinquish a set, and they are looking to continue that momentum this Friday when they take on the Lions. In their last meeting, the Bulldogs swept Columbia in three straight sets on Oct. 25. The Lions are winless in conference play and rank in the bottom half of every statistical category. Nonetheless, their star player, Amalia Viti, leads the league in kills, averaging more than four kills per game.
But the Bulldogs are also lethal on offense. They boast the best hitting percentage in the league, and the Elis can attribute much of their most recent success to opposite hitter Bridget Hearst ’12. Recently named Ivy League Rookie of the Week, Hearst recorded 20 kills in a pair of games last weekend.
And the Bulldogs have even more firepower in their pair of outside hitters, Alexis Crusey ’10 and Cat Dailey ’10, who lead the team in kills with 3.79 and 3.53 per set, respectively.
But the Elis know that most of their success comes in the transition game. Anchoring the team on both sides of the ball is captain and setter Ally Mendenhall ’09.
On Saturday, the Bulldogs will host Cornell. Both teams are strong defensively. The Big Red leads the league in blocks (2.1 per set), while the Elis top the league in services aces (1.61 per set) and digs (16.53 per set). The Bulldogs beat the Big Red earlier this season on Oct. 24.
The Bulldogs will also celebrate senior night in their last home game of the season. Seniors Courtney Hall ’09, Allison Kaptur ’09, Kristen Wilk ’09 and Mendenhall will be honored after the match against the Big Red.
The Bulldogs play Columbia at 7 p.m. Friday in John J. Lee Amphitheater.