Answering to Cal State Fullerton’s attacks with a record total of 16 blocks, the volleyball team set a commanding tone for their winning weekend in California.
A comeback victory over Georgetown (6–7, 0–0 Big East) on Saturday night wrapped up a winning weekend at Cal State Fullerton for the Bulldogs (4–5, 0–0 Ivy). The Elis went 2–1 on the weekend, besting their host (6–7, 0–0 Big West) on Friday before notching a mixed result on Saturday with a win against Georgetown and a loss to No. 22 UCLA (9–2, 0–0 Pacific-12).
“We fought really hard in both the Fullerton and Georgetown matches, especially against Georgetown,” captain Mollie Rogers ’15 said. “Coming back after losing the first game by that much isn’t easy. We really came together to win that match.”
The Hoyas took control of the court in the first set against Yale on Saturday, winning 11–25, but the Bulldogs changed the course of the game and took the next three sets. The second and third games were tight with a two-point margin of victory in each, with the third advancing to the 26th point.
Head coach Erin Appleman said that though she was disappointed that the Bulldogs did not come out ready to play in the first set, she was impressed with their play in the remainder of the match.
“Mollie did a great job leading the team after the first set,” she said. “They played the way ‘Yale volleyball’ plays.”
Rogers dominated with a season-high 19 kills in the match. She and setter Kelly Johnson ’16 were named to the Fullerton All-Tournament team. Libero Tori Shepard ’17 also had a triumphant Saturday night, delivering a career-high 21 digs against the Hoyas.
Several Bulldogs agreed that playing the Bruins, a seasoned top-25 team, was a useful experience.
“Facing UCLA was difficult, but I thought we played well,” Rogers said.
The Elis gave the Bruins a hard fight, pushing the second set to 26–24, but the powerhouse team swept the match 3–0.
Appleman agreed with Rogers that Yale maintained its level of play against UCLA. She added that the Bulldogs had difficulty defending their side of the net against UCLA senior outside hitter Karsta Lowe.
“I thought we were really great,” Appleman said. “[Lowe] is one of the best players in the nation, and she was just unstoppable in the match.”
Appleman said that she thought middle blocker Maya Midzik ’16 and outside hitter Kaitlyn Gibbons ’18 also had “fantastic weekends.” According to Appleman, the women’s overall strongest match was against Fullerton because they played as a team. Midzik contributed 10 kills and nine blocks in the match against Fullerton. Gibbons stood out against UCLA, leading the Elis in kills with nine.
Last week, Rogers and Johnson were named to the Ivy League honor roll. Freshman setter Kelsey Crawford ’18 was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week.
“It feels really good,” Crawford said. “It motivates me to keep working.”
Crawford added that the honors are an indication that the team’s hard work in practice is paying off.
The Elis will travel to Providence this weekend to play Brown, their first Ivy Conference opponent of the year.