The volleyball team hosted Cornell and Columbia this weekend, remaining perfect in Ivy League play following last weekend’s conference-opening victory against Brown. After taking straight sets from Cornell on Friday night, the Bulldogs fought back a last-minute Columbia comeback on Saturday to win in five sets and cap off a successful weekend.
“I was really proud of a young squad being able to [bounce back],” head coach Erin Appleman said. “All the momentum was going Columbia’s way, and we were able to push hard in that fifth game and play like we can.”
The Elis (9–4, 3–0 Ivy) began the weekend against Cornell (2–12, 0–3), a team that has struggled early this season and came into New Haven riding a five-match losing streak.
The Big Red managed to keep up with Yale early in the first set. But Yale went on a 5–0 run to take an 18–10 lead, culminating with a block for a point by captain Taylor Cramm ’12 and Allie Frappier ’15. The Bulldogs did not look back, capturing the set 25–18.
The Elis continued their dominance in the second set, jumping out to a 9–1 lead. The run included a well-placed service ace from Mollie Rogers ’15 and was topped with a kill from Frappier. Yale went on to take the second set 25–15.
“I think we did a good job serving and passing which allowed us to use our offense against Cornell,” Frappier said.
Despite a stronger showing in the third set, the Big Red wasn’t able to break through against the Bulldogs. Yale took control in the middle of the set with a 6–0 run, building a 17–11 lead and keeping Cornell at bay en route to a 25–22 victory.
Maddie Rudnick ’15 recorded an impressive 30 digs to lead the Elis defensively while Kendall Polan ’14 added 37 assists and 14 digs.
After sweeping Brown and Cornell, the Bulldogs had not dropped a set in Ivy League play entering their match with Columbia on Saturday evening. Yale would extend this streak following 25–19 and 25–22 victories in the first two sets.
Following a visit to the locker room, however, the Lions came out and challenged the Bulldogs, winning the third set 25–20 in spite of a late 7–2 Yale run.
“I think we weren’t playing at the best [level] that we can play at,” Appleman said. “We weren’t really being as aggressive defensively as we normally are.”
It got even worse for the Bulldogs in the fourth set as the Lions took an early 10–5 lead that they would not relinquish all set. Led by dominant hitting from Monique Roberts, Columbia had completely captured the match’s momentum. They clinched the victory 25–13, finishing a set that featured poor play from Yale with the Elis committing five errors.
“Columbia played flawless volleyball in game four,” Appleman said. “When you have a team that’s that good in one set, you kind of have to look and say ‘how can we win three out of five instead of this one?’”
The Bulldogs answered this question in the fifth set as they traded points with Columbia to a 10–10 score. With the score tied, Rogers captured the momentum for the Bulldogs with a kill off the Columbia block to take an 11–10 lead. Frappier recorded three of the next four points as they held off the Columbia comeback with a match-clinching 15–11 victory.
“When I am playing well I feel like I have the ability to be more aggressive in every aspect of my game,” Frappier said.
Yale was well-balanced statistically with four players recording double-digit kills — led by Erica Reetz ’14 with 16 — and four players recording double-digit digs. Polan did a little bit of everything, recording 47 assists, 18 digs, four kills and two service aces.
“She’s continuing to find her way as a leader,” Appleman said. “She’s just finding ways to get this young squad to be successful.”
The Elis will finish up a five-match homestand this weekend with matches against Dartmouth Friday night at 7 p.m. and Harvard Saturday evening at 5 p.m.