The volleyball team (6–3) hosted the Yale Classic this weekend, recording blow-out wins over struggling New Hampshire (1–14) and Quinnipiac (1–12) in straight sets and storming back to beat the Army Black Knights (9–4), 3–2. With Ivy League play approaching this Saturday, head coach Erin Appleman is encouraged by the progress the team made this weekend.
“We came together as a team,” Appleman said. “We showed a lot of emotion and are learning to use our athleticism and play together.”
The Bulldogs came out strong, posting convincing victories against New Hampshire and Quinnipiac in their first two matches.
Against New Hampshire, the Bulldogs were led by freshman Mollie Rogers ’15, who tallied 10 kills and 15 digs, and sophomore Kendall Polan ’14, who contributed 33 assists.
After being dominated by the Elis in the first set, New Hampshire came out strong in the second, building a 14–12 lead. But the Elis proceeded to go on an 8–0 run, capped by a service ace from Rogers. Yale never looked back and finished the sweep with dominant play, outscoring the Wildcats 38–18 from that point on.
The Elis built on Friday’s success against Quinnipiac the next day as Polan had another 33 assists and Allie Frappier ’15 added nine kills and two blocks. The Bulldogs controlled the tempo in the first set, capturing a 25–11 victory. They continued that momentum in the second set, coming out fast with an 8–2 lead.
“Getting a quick start is a huge part of doing well in every match,” Frappier said. “It says that we are ready for games, that we want to win and we come together to make that happen.”
After taking the second and third sets from Quinnipiac, the Bulldogs were on a roll heading into a Saturday night matchup with Army. They did not, however, continue their level of high play early on, dropping the first two sets 25–21 and 25–23, respectively.
“I think we took them lightly,” freshman Maddie Rudnick ’15 said. “We came in somewhat over-confident. We just weren’t awake and ready to play when we started the game.”
After a trip to the locker room, the Elis came out ready to play in the third set. As the Bulldogs built up a 10–3 lead, the intensity of the crowd grew with each point, creating a loud and hostile environment for Army players and having a clear effect on the game. With the raucous crowd of 152 behind them, the Bulldogs withstood an Army comeback, taking the third set 25–21 behind strong defense.
“The crowd played a big role,” Rudnick said. “We really love our fans and it’s really hard to play when people are heckling you. They kept us going when we were down, and kept us playing well into the fifth game.”
The fourth set saw Yale playing its best volleyball of the weekend as the team finished with a 12–3 run to win easily 25–15.
With Yale leading Army 13–12 in the fifth and final set, tournament MVP McHaney Carter ’14 recorded two game-ending kills as Yale completed the three set comeback with a 15–13 victory.
“The comeback shows that we have heart, and basically we were lacking it in the first two sets,” Rudnick said. “To come out and keep fighting against bad odds shows that we have confidence and heart to keep fighting.”
Carter paced the Eli offense with 13 kills, while Polan recorded 45 assists. On the defensive side Rudnick added a team high 27 digs. Polan and Rogers were named to the All-Tournament Team.
On Wednesday, the Bulldogs travel to Albany for a 7 p.m. contest against the Great Danes. It will be their final non-conference match before Ivy League play begins against Brown on Sept. 24.