The Yale volleyball team opened Ivy conference play with a clean sweep this weekend, defeating Brown largely thanks to a powerful .340 hit percentage.
The Elis (5–5, 1–0 Ivy) beat the Bears (4–8, 0–1 Ivy) 3–0, taking control in the first set, in which they hit .419 and finished with an 11-point margin of victory against their Ivy foes. Brown mustered just a .195 hit percentage throughout the entire match, including a measly .097 in the first set.
“Every time we play, we focus on representing Yale,” libero Tori Shepard ’17 said. “We have a very successful program, but that’s because we only envision the next game ahead of us.”
The Bulldogs have a record of 52–5 against Ivy opponents since the 2010 season, and several Elis said they were looking to build on past success in the Ivy conference this season.
Shepard added that the team had been eager to demonstrate its growth against Ivy competition after facing top-25 teams in the preseason. She contributed seven digs to the three sets on Friday.
According to head coach Erin Appleman, captain Mollie Rogers ’15 played like a leader in the Brown game. The outside hitter delivered a match-high 17 kills.
Appleman added that middle blocker Claire Feeley ’17 also had a standout performance on Friday night. Feeley dominated offensively, hitting with the highest individual accuracy at .444 and contributing career-highs of six kills, and defensively, with a solo block and six block assists.
“This year, I’ve had the opportunity to get much more involved on the court,” Feeley said. “Our freshman setter Kelsey [Crawford ’18] and I had a great connection on Friday night.”
Feeley said the highlight for her was the match point in the third set when the Bulldogs officially brought home their first Ivy win.
The last match was the closest, with Yale besting Brown by just two points, 25–23.
“We have a tradition of holding our hands up with our pinkies connected in the final point before winning a game and then running onto the court as soon as we finish it,” Feeley said. “It’s a lot of fun.”
Several other Elis performed at a high level on Friday. Setter Kelly Johnson ’16 and middle blocker Maya Midzik ’16 contributed nine and five kills, respectively. Libero Maddie Rudnick ’15 led the team in digs with 17.
Though the team hit with the most accuracy in the first set and each subsequent set saw a decrease in the margin of victory, Feeley asserted that the Bulldogs maintained control of their side of the net throughout the match.
“We might have lost a little bit of momentum or energy on the court for a few points,” Feeley said. “But for the most part, we always would bounce back quickly.”
The volleyball team will travel to Cambridge to face off against rival Harvard this Friday. Harvard is currently 0–1 in Ivy play after losing to Dartmouth this past Friday.