After tipping off with top competition the past two weekends, the Yale volleyball team will take on local rivals in its first home tournament of the season.
The Bulldogs (1–5, 0–0, Ivy) will take on three teams over Friday and Saturday at this year’s Yale Invitational. The Elis kick off with Stony Brook (3–8, 0–0, America East) on Friday night, before taking on Army (6–3, 0–0, Patriot) and Sacred Heart (4–5, 0–0, Northeast) in a double header on Saturday. The Elis have not lost to either Stony Brook or Army and are 1–1 against Sacred Heart.
“We are home for three weeks in a row, which we could not be happier about after all of the travel that we’ve been doing,” head coach Erin Appleman said. “We’re watching film of our opponents, and it’s a quick turn around from last weekend. We are going to really try and work on how we, Yale, play and what we need to do to be better.”
After long weekends in Indiana and California, the Elis will play their first home games of the season at the Yale Invitational. The first six games for the Bulldogs proved challenging, but the team demonstrated its ability to play against some of the top teams in the nation.
At the Indiana Invitational, the Bulldogs went 0–3 against Oklahoma, Oregon State and Indiana. Despite these losses, Yale matched the competition in every set. In each matchup, the Bulldogs pushed their competitors into four or even five sets before falling. Most notably, the team pushed Oklahoma to five sets, ending in a nail biting 15–8 tiebreaker.
The Trojan Invitational proved similarly frustrating, with only one win out of three games against Villanova, No. 20 USC and Howard. However, Yale challenged the nationally ranked Trojans to a five-set battle on their home court, narrowly losing in the tiebreaker 15–11.
“Our losses thus far have really shown us what we can work on for this upcoming weekend, and we are really excited to see what we can do on our home court,” Ashley Dreyer ’22 said.
In both tournaments, outside hitter Rebekah Nemeth ’20, who leads the team with 67 kills this season, made the All-Tournament team. Meanwhile, setter Franny Arnautou ’20 holds down the court with a whopping 217 assists thus far — 192 more than the next highest teammate.
The Elis will continue to fine-tune its skills during this weekend’s tournament in preparation for Ivy play, which begins on Sept. 28 against Brown.
The Bulldogs last took on the Stony Brook in 2014, sweeping them 3–0. Last season, the Seawolves had a 12–0 record in America East and won a bid for the NCAA tournament for the second year in a row. In a similar fashion as the Bulldogs, the Seawolves were eliminated last year in the first round of the national tournament. Stony Brook has only won three out of 11 games this year, losing handily to ranked opponents such as then No. 22 Washington State and then No. 25 Florida State.
In recent years, the Elis have only competed against Army West Point once. Last season, the Bulldogs came out victorious 3–1. Yale also captured wins against the Black Knights back in 2011 and 2013. Army has won six games this fall and are currently riding a three-game win streak.
The Bulldogs have not played Sacred Heart since 2011 when they lost 1–3. Prior to that game, the Elis annihilated the Big Red 3–0 in 2007. The Big Red, which sits just under .500 right now, most recently lost to Fairfield.
The tournament, which marks the last weekend of play before the Bulldogs tackle Ancient Eight foes, opens a three-week home stint.
“We’ve been on the road traveling a lot for the past two weeks, so we are excited to finally be playing in [the] John J. Lee Amphitheater, on home turf, and in the company of family and friends,” Ellis DeJardin ’22 said. “It should be a good weekend of competition, and we are looking forward to intense, yet fun games.”
The Elis take on Stony Brook on Friday at 7 p.m. in the John J. Lee Amphitheater.
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