One month ago, the Yale women’s volleyball team kicked off Ivy play against Brown, handily defeating the Bears in three straight sets. This Saturday, the Elis are looking to repeat their victory on enemy ground.
The Ivy championship title is hotly contested this year, with Yale (10–6, 6–1 Ivy), Cornell (13–3, 6–1 Ivy) and Princeton (10–6, 6–1 Ivy) all tied as front runners. The bottom half of Ivy play will prove incredibly significant for all teams; every Ivy foe gets the opportunity to face off for a second time. Each matchup counts toward the Elis’ standing, and they will hit the road this weekend looking to put away another win against Bruno (10–7, 2–5 Ivy).
“After an awesome weekend, we have great confidence and chemistry going into the second half of this season,” captain and middle blocker Izzy Simqu ’20 said. “We have more challenges as we take on many teams on the road, but we’re looking forward to it. Brown is a good team, and we know that the competition will make us better and stronger.”
The Bulldogs are in excellent shape going into the weekend as they come from back-to-back wins against Columbia and Cornell. The Bears also step into this matchup fresh off a victory, after defeating Columbia 3–1 last Saturday. Ranked fifth, Bruno has acquired two conference victories compared to last year’s one after the first eight games.
Leading the pack are two California natives: senior outside hitter Makena Ehlert and sophomore setter Kristin Sellers. Ehlert has already posted 209 kills — outscoring the next best player by 50 — and 167 digs, while Sellers has contributed 426 sets and 19 service aces. Additionally, outside hitter Sophia Miller won Rookie of the Week this past Monday. Miller ranks third in the conference for kills per set and has posted double-figure kills in five of the last six matches.
Returning to travel play represents a point of challenge for the Bulldogs, as the only losses of the preseason and of conference play have come while on away courts. The Elis have “got to figure out a way to be good on the road,” head coach Erin Appleman told the News.
Yale has a strong history against Brown, and the Elis have only lost once to the Providence team in the past 10 years. The Bulldogs dominated the Bears in their first game of this season, securing a 3–0 win with a 25–18, 25–11, 26–24 box score.
The coming matchup launches a three-week travel period for the Elis. This stint, however, nicely sets up their penultimate and final games of the season against Penn and Princeton, respectively, at home at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.
“We are excited to be back on the road,” outside hitter Ellis DeJardin ’22 said. “We’ve been trying new things and getting comfortable with doing things outside of our comfort zones — all of which really demonstrates a great team effort to be better.”
The Bulldogs and the Bears will face off on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Providence’s Pizzitola Sports Center.
Margaret Hedeman | firstname.lastname@example.org