The volleyball team will attempt to keep second-place Columbia at bay Friday night in New York. The Bulldogs will follow up by traveling upstate to take on Cornell on Saturday. The Elis hope to keep pace with Princeton, currently tied with Yale for first place in the Ivy League. Princeton will face Dartmouth and Harvard this weekend.
Yale is in the midst of a five-match stretch on the road, long enough to test any team’s endurance. Despite the rigors of the road trips, head coach Erin Appleman is optimistic that her team is ready to play this weekend.
“I think we will be fine with the travel,” Appleman said. “We’re healthy, we had a good week of practice, and we’re ready to try to win some matches on the road.”
After dropping their first Ivy League match of the season two weeks ago against the Tigers, the Bulldogs (13–5, 7–1 Ivy) rebounded with convincing 3–0 victories over struggling teams from Penn and Brown over the past two weekends. Last weekend’s victory over Brown saw an incomplete Yale squad play well despite limited playing time for starters Allie Frappier ’15 and Taylor Cramm ’12 because of sickness and injury.
Yale received contributions from multiple players against the Bears en route to accumulating 48 kills, the fourth highest mark for a three-set match this season in the Ivy League. Erica Reetz ’14 and Haley Wessels ’13 led the Bulldogs in kills, recording 13 and 10 respectively. Mollie Rogers ’15 received Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors for her efforts, which included eight kills and 11 digs. It is the third time she has won the award this season.
Columbia (12–6, 6–2) has proven to be one of the better teams in the conference this season and has won four of its last five matches. The Lions have gone 2–0 in their only home matches of the season, one of which was a win over Princeton. But the Columbia schedule has contained some head-scratchers as well, including a 3–0 loss at Harvard and a narrow 3–2 win over the abysmal Big Red.
The Bulldogs and the Lions played a thriller in a matchup earlier this season at Payne Whitney Gymnasium. Yale gave away a 2–0 lead and was forced to play a tiebreaker fifth set, which it won by a 15–11 score. Yale will try to avoid a similar meltdown this weekend.
“We’re just going to concentrate on our serving and making sure we play at the high level that we are capable of,” Appleman said.
The matchup against Columbia is pivotal for both teams. A loss to Columbia will pull the Lions even with Yale while a Yale victory would make it difficult for Columbia to climb back into the Ivy race.
The Bulldogs will finish up the weekend with a match in Ithaca, N.Y. against the Cornell Big Red (4–16, 1–7). The Big Red’s only win of the season is a 3–1 triumph at Harvard, but it is coming off consecutive 3–0 losses to Columbia and Dartmouth last weekend.
Earlier this season, the Bulldogs delivered Cornell a 3–0 loss in its second Ivy match of the season in one of Kendall Polan’s ’14 best performances this year. She recorded six kills with 14 digs and 37 assists in that match.
The Elis will tip off against the Lions Friday night at 7 p.m. and will finish the trip with a 5 p.m. matchup Saturday at Cornell.