Yale volleyball nailed two more wins at home against Cornell and Columbia this weekend, catapulting the Bulldogs into first place in the Ivy League.
After losing four out of their first five games, the volleyball team has not taken their foot off the pedal, winning the next nine of 11.
The Bulldogs (10–6, Ivy 6–1) swept the Big Red (3–14, Ivy 0–7) in three sets on Friday, breaking the tie for the lead in the Ivy League the Bulldogs held with Princeton. The scores were 25–16, 25–17 and 25–14. Kelly Johnson ’16 led Yale with nine kills, and Mollie Rogers ’15 put in 12 digs.
On Saturday, the Elis beat the Lions 3–1 (7–9, Ivy 3–4), fighting back from a loss in the third set to finish Columbia off. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 2–0 start before dropping the third match and coming back in the fourth with scores of 25–23, 25–23, 22–25 and 25–22. Yale served up eight aces and hit 0.220 to Columbia’s 0.206. Rogers recorded 26 total kills, while Johnson posted 22. Rudnick led the team with 23 digs.
Yale entered the match on Friday after finishing a five-week stretch of road games and the team looked poised in their return home. Yale maintained control throughout all three games, hitting a kills-minus-errors-per-attempt ratio of .172, compared to Cornell’s -.010. Rogers attributed the team’s success to their defensive game.
“I thought we did really well with passing and staying calm and making sure that we always got a good ball to our setter, which is really important for us,” Rogers said.
Maddie Rudnick ’15 had 10 digs in the match, putting her at second place on Yale’s all-time digs list. With 1,382 digs, she surpassed Anja Perlebach ’06 and currently sits behind Kelly Ozurovich ’10, who hit 1,753 in her career wearing blue and white.
“I can’t attribute all of my success to myself. I think the blockers play a huge role in getting digs and there is a lot of other aspects to that,” Rudnick said. “It’s great that I am able to contribute to an awesome team.”
After Friday’s sweep, the Bulldogs headed back to John J. Lee Amphitheater to take on the Columbia Lions.
On Saturday, the squad managed to hold Columbia at 22 points in the third match as Rogers and Johnson put up three kills and Kelsey Crawford ’18 served an ace. Columbia, however, was unfazed by the four-point run and only allowed Yale two more points in the third set.
“That third set was definitely tough because it was close and they got away from us in the end. In the fourth set we sort of just came together. We got a big lead, which was a nice cushion to have,” Rogers said.
The Bulldogs’ largest lead in the fourth set was 14–6, and the team never trailed Columbia.
Overall, the match against Columbia resembled a ping-pong match, according to head coach Erin Appleman. Neither team could get any major runs until the third set.
“Columbia was one of the best teams we’ve faced this year. They were very challenging, very good and steady. We had to continue to believe in ourselves and fight hard to get the job done,” Appleman said.
Following Princeton’s loss to Dartmouth on Friday, Yale now currently stands alone atop the Ivy League. As both Rogers and Rudnick noted, the team believes they can extend their success by continuing to take on one game at a time.
The Bulldogs will face Brown for the second time this season at home on Oct. 24.