The volleyball team topped Albany but fell to Minnesota and Boston College in three energy-packed home matches this weekend at the Yale Invitational.
Fans filled up the John J. Lee Amphitheater at the Payne Whitney Gym to watch the Bulldogs (1–2, 0–0 Ivy) battle the Gophers, the Great Danes and the Eagles. Minnesota (4–1, 0–0 Big Ten) swept Yale in three tight games on Friday night. Albany (1–4, 0–0 America East) beat Boston College (3–3, 0–0 ACC) in the first matchup of the invitational, and Yale defeated Albany 3-1 on Saturday afternoon but lost 3–0 to Boston College in the evening. Both Albany and Boston College lost to Minnesota.
“I think [the tournament] was a mixed bag,” said assistant coach Kevin Laseau. “But we’ve only practiced for 10 days, and, despite the 10 days, there was still a lot of positive action on the court. We just need to do more.”
The highlight for the team was Saturday’s win against the Great Danes, Laseau said. Yale lost its first set against Albany but came back from 0–1 and won the next three. The third set was especially intense, as Yale won on the 26th point. Playing in just her third match for Yale, freshman outside hitter Kaitlyn Gibbons ’18 had seven kills in the third set against the Great Danes. Her hitting accuracy for the match was .325.
The Elis overpowered Albany but came up short against Boston College, even though Albany was the winner in its matchup with the Eagles.
Laseau attributed the loss to excellent play by Boston College as well as a rough evening for Yale.
“There were some things that needed work on our side of the net, and we know that,” he said.
According to Laseau, there were areas to improve upon in every match, including the match won against Albany. He said no one match was “complete.” This season is Laseau’s fifth with the Bulldogs, and he spoke from experience when he said the team grows stronger with each practice as the season progresses.
He also commended the Bulldogs on a tough fight against Minnesota, ranked 18th in the nation. Yale kept up with the Gophers nearly point for point in the first and third sets, which had scores of 25–23 and 25–19, respectively.
Despite the weekend’s split matches, several Yale women showed their prowess on the court and achieved personal triumphs. For her performance, setter Kelly Johnson ’16 was named to the All-Tournament team along with star players from Minnesota, Albany and Boston College.
“I feel very honored to have been chosen,” she said. “I am incredibly lucky to play for such a talented team. We compete and push each other every day to get better, and I think that is what makes [Yale] great.”
Captain Mollie Rogers ’15 led the team with nine kills against Minnesota. Freshman setter Kelsey Crawford ’18 made an impactful debut with key assists during the weekend, including 10 in the first set versus Minnesota.
This weekend, the Eli women will participate in the Villanova Classic. The tournament includes Kansas, Penn State and Villanova. Yale’s Friday opponent will be the Kansas Jayhawks.