After opening up Ivy League play last Saturday with a straight sets victory over Brown, the volleyball team will continue a five-match homestand this weekend against Ivy League foes Cornell and Columbia.
“We were all pumped up, all excited, all ready to play and I think we came out strong from the get-go and really executed our game plan,” team captain Taylor Cramm ’12 said of last week’s victory.
The Bulldogs (7–4, 1–0 Ivy) look to continue last season’s dominance over Cornell (2–10, 0–1) on Friday night. In their two matches against Cornell last season the Elis did not lose a set, capturing two 3–0 victories.
Cornell has struggled early on this season, only managing to capture 13 sets through its first 12 matches. The Big Red most recently lost to Columbia in heartbreaking style, failing to capitalize on a 2–0 lead and dropping the match 3–2. The loss extended Cornell’s current losing streak to five matches.
The Bulldogs have prepared to face a tall lineup from Cornell, a team that carries seven players listed at over 6 feet. Yale carries only four such players.
“Cornell’s always a big team so I think the block is always big,” Cramm said. “We have to kind of work around that and take that into consideration a little more than we usually do.”
Yale will return to the court the next night with a match against Columbia on Saturday. Columbia (7–4, 1–0) has had success early on, building a 7–4 record and coming into New Haven with a three-match win streak.
While Columbia does not always match its opponents when it comes to counting stats (they have recorded less kills, assists and digs cumulatively than their opponents), they find success by playing more efficient volleyball than most teams. Through 11 matches, the Lions have committed 68 fewer hitting errors than their opposition and have dominated in hitting percentage as well, .224 to .189.
“Columbia is kind of like Brown in that they always tend to get [the ball] back,” Cramm said. “They’re very scrappy.”
Yale dominated the Lions last season as well, dropping only one set en route to 3–1 and 3–0 victories.
For the Bulldogs, Cramm has been on a tear of late, committing only four errors in the last five matches and improving her hitting percentage to .389 for the season. Kendall Polan ’14 heads into the weekend leading the Bulldogs with 423 assists.
The freshmen trio of Mollie Rogers ’15, Allie Frappier ’15 and Maddie Rudnick ’15 looks to build on early success as well. Rogers and Frappier lead the team with 129 and 103 kills respectively while Rudnick has set the pace defensively with a team-high 158 digs.
The Bulldogs begin the action Saturday night at 7 p.m. against Cornell and finish off the weekend with a matchup against Columbia Saturday at 5 p.m. in the John J. Lee Ampitheater.