As the volleyball team prepares for the upcoming season, the Bulldogs hope to pick up right where they left off after the departure of five seniors, who over four years amassed a 74–27 record — the best four-year run in Yale history.
“There are definitely some things we are going to miss,” head coach Erin Appleman said. “This is a rebuilding year.”
The 2010 Elis feature one senior, captain and libero Kelly Ozurovich ’11, who is a three-time all-Ivy honoree and ranks fifth on the Yale all-time digs list. Ozurovich was 13th overall in Division I in digs last season with 5.38 digs per set.
The Bulldogs will also return opposite hitter Bridget Hearst ’12, who was second-team all-Ivy last season. Setter Kerry Clavadetscher ’13, who ranked second in the Ivy League in assists per set last season, will continue in her role as the team’s starting setter.
Middle blocker Haley Wessels ’13, who appeared in 71 sets last season and led the team in blocks, will anchor the Yale defense.
To fill the gaping hole left by the departure of one of the best classes in Yale volleyball history, the Elis responded by recruiting a nationally recognized freshman class. The class of 2014, which was selected for high honorable mention in Prepvolleyball.com’s annual rankings of the best volleyball recruiting classes, features middle blocker McHaney Carter ’14, from Southlake, Texas, outside hitter Gina Finke ’14, from Naperville, Ill., setter Kendall Polan ’14, from Cardiff, Calif., and outside hitter Erica Reetz ’14, from Thiensville, Wis.
“Our freshmen are working really hard,” Ozurovich said. “They’re getting used to Yale volleyball. They really seem to be clicking well on and off the court.”
The Bulldogs will start the season Sept.3 at the John J. Lee Amphitheaterwith the Yale Invitational, in which the team has gone 31–5 in the last three years. The Elis will host Quinnipiac, Stony Brook, and Rhode Island during the tournament.
The Elis will then travel to Long Island University on Sept. 10 to face the Blackbirdsand Georgetown. The following weekend the Elis will travel to California to face West Coast power California State University Fullerton in what will be a homecoming for five Eli Golden State natives.
The Yale season will be capped by a final home game against Harvard on Nov. 6, in what will be Senior Night for the lone Bulldog senior.
“There is no better team I’d rather play on senior night,” Ozurovich said. “I don’t want to get too excited, as it will be the end of my volleyball career.”
Through the preseason, the young Elis are still figuring out their final lineup in what seems to be a wide open race for several starting positions.
“I have no idea what our final lineup will be,” Appleman said. “I can say that our bench will be good.”
The team has shown great chemistry in preseason, incorporating the freshmen seamlessly, outside hitter Katie Cordell ’12 said, as they prepare to start the season with one goal in mind.
“We want to win Ivies,” Ozurovich said.