When they finally finished winning point after point on Saturday night at The Pavilion, Yale emerged with a dominating win over their host, Villanova. Yale took the final two games by 15 points each in the sweep, which marked a redeeming end to a weekend that had begun with losses to two nationally ranked foes.
Yale notched a 1–2 record at the Villanova Classic in their first away matches of the season. The Bulldogs (2–4, 0–0 Ivy)came out on top against the Wildcats (4–7, 0–0 Big East), beating them 3–0 on Saturday. The Elis were swept 3–0 in the matches against the Jayhawks (9–2, 0–0 Big 12)and the Nittany Lions (8–1, 0–0 Big Ten)on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Her impressive total of 34 kills in the weekend’s matches earned captain Mollie Rogers ’15 a spot on the Villanova Classic All-Tournament team.
“Being named to the All-Tournament team is a great honor,” Rogers said. “But this weekend, especially our win over Villanova, was a complete team effort.”
Rogers dubbed the tournament an “overall success” despite the team’s mixed performance.
Before the weekend, several Elis said that they hoped the Villanova Classic’s matchups against tough competition — including No. 3 Penn State and No. 24 Kansas — would push them to work even harder on the court. Rogers said the team achieved its goal of upping its level of play.
Libero Tori Shepard ’17 said the highlight of the weekend was the team’s win over Villanova.
“We established an extremely high level of play that we like to call ‘Yale volleyball,’” she said. “This is when we’re all doing our jobs and working together as a unit.”
Shepard was one of four Elis to reach double digits in digs against Villanova with 10.
Maddie Rudnick ’15, Kelsey Crawford ’18 and Rogers also hit double digits.
“It was such a fun match to be a part of. This team gelled so well, and we played as the team we always work to be,” Shepard said.
Shepard and head coach Erin Appleman agreed with Rogers in saying that the Bulldogs had a successful weekend.
Kansas had slim margins of victory in each of their games against Yale in Friday’s match, with Yale losing 25–21 in the first and third games. The Bulldogs held together on the court against Penn State as well, Appleman said.
She added that though Kansas and Penn State were extremely gifted teams, Yale competed really well over the weekend.
“Feeling comfortable with each other and working together was our big goal,” she said. “We fought in every match.”
According to Appleman, the new and returning players got closer to their goal of figuring out how to play as a seasoned team.
The women had spent the week leading up the Villanova Classic focusing on team drills, according to outside hitter Brittani Steinberg ’17.
“It all came together in the Villanova game,” Appleman said. “We were able to string together points, and we fought for every point.”
The Bulldogs demonstrated their best hitting results of the season against Villanova, hitting .371. Setter Kelly Johnson ’16 took control on the court, hitting an impressive .565.
Rogers said the upcoming Fullerton Classic tournament in Cal State would be a key event and that the Yale women expected to “arrive ready to play” after this week’s training.
Yale will travel to California to face Cal State, No. 25 UCLA and Georgetown this coming weekend.