The Yale volleyball team swept Brown 3–0 for the second time this season, extending its winning streak to six games and holding fast to its first-place league ranking.
The Bulldogs (11–6, 7–1 Ivy) kicked off the second half of Ivy League play by soundly beating the Bears (8–12, 3–5 Ivy) in three sets this Friday, 25–13, 25–12 and 25–17. Yale hit 0.333 to Brown’s 0.053 and put up nine blocks, 57 digs and three aces to Brown’s modest two blocks, 45 digs and zero aces.
“I think we played the best volleyball we have this year,” head coach Erin Appleman said. “We were able to get [middle blocker] Jesse Ebner ’16 back in the match, and I think it’s great because she’s been injured for a while. She had a lot of energy and hit very well.”
Middle blocker Maya Midzik ’16 and setter Kelly Johnson ’16 led the team with 10 kills each. Midzik and captain Mollie Rogers ’15 each put up four blocks, and setter Kelsey Crawford ’18 had 36 assists of her own. Rogers led the Bulldogs with 11 digs, contributing to nearly 20 percent of Yale’s total digs.
Ebner, who had not played since the first weekend of the season, made her 2014 Ivy League debut in style, pitching in eight kills and hitting a team-best 0.583.
Ebner noted the team consistently executed their coach’s directions and followed the Brown scouting report very well, which led to their numerous serving runs and blocks.
“Our serving got [the Bears] out of system a lot, so they only had one or two options, and our blocking was really solid,” Ebner said. “We worked a lot on blocking this week and it really showed.”
In each set against Brown, the Elis went on a run to put some distance between themselves and the Bears. A 6–0 run early in the first set gave Yale a 9–4 lead that it never relinquished, and similar nine- and six-point runs in the second and third sets, respectively, helped the Bulldogs avoid any danger.
Midzik said the players appreciated having time over fall recess to focus on practice, in addition to only having to play one game this weekend. She added that the team played as a more cohesive unit than they have in previous games, and that the consistent hitting percentages proved that the Bulldogs pulled off a well-balanced offense this weekend.
This match was also the main event of Yale’s annual Dig Pink campaign, which raises donations and awareness for breast cancer. Each team in the conference reserves one night a year to fundraise for the cause. Before the match, the Elis publicized the event on Facebook. On Friday, the Bulldogs wore pink warm ups and pink ribbons, and two players collected donations at the door.
“We weren’t expecting that many people to be around since it was fall break, but there were a lot of people at the game,” Midzik said. “The whole football team actually ended up showing up to support us.”
So far, Yale has raised $190 towards its $1,000 goal, according to the 2014 Yale Dig Pink Rally website, though Appleman said this may not reflect the total number of donations collected during the match.
The Bulldogs will face off against Dartmouth on Friday at 7 p.m. and Harvard on Saturday at 5 p.m. Yale beat Dartmouth 3–0 earlier this season, but fell to Harvard in a close 3–2 loss.