The Yale volleyball team — originally planning to play both Penn and Princeton in its final weekend of the regular season — will now only square up against the Tigers on Saturday due to the cancellation of the Quaker’s season.
On Wednesday, “vulgar, offensive, and disrespectful posters” in the team’s locker room caused Penn’s season to be cancelled, according to Penn Athletics. The Bulldogs (14–7, 10–2 Ivy) enter their match-up against the Tigers (15–6, 9–1) as the underdog in their pursuit for a third consecutive conference title. Currently, Princeton sits at the top Ivy League spot with Yale coming up a close second. Cornell falls third in the rankings. Earlier this season, the Tigers handed the Elis their first conference loss with a 25–19, 25–14, 25–17 sweep. Thus far this season, Cornell has been the only Ivy team to beat Princeton, yet the Big Red was only able to defeat the Tigers once out of the two times they met. With the Penn game canceled, the Bulldogs will have an extra day to prepare for their bout.
“Hearing about [Penn] was an initial shock, but at the end of the day we have to beat Princeton regardless, so our goals are still the same,” captain and middle blocker Izzy Simqu ’20 said. “We’re now even more locked in and ready to practice and take on Princeton … We’re going to come out swinging.”
The 2019-20 season closely resembles 2017-18, when the Elis split their two regular season matches with the Tigers. After losing the first 3–1, the Blue and White came back to win 3–0 — sharing the Ivy title. In the playoffs, the Bulldogs were unable to hold the Tigers back, who defeated Yale 3–0 in a swift sweep. The Elis have split their conference matches each year with Princeton since 2015.
The hotly contested match-up also falls on the Yale volleyball senior night, where each fourth-year Bulldog is recognized for her contributions.
“Despite this crazy turn of events, we are so ready and excited to take on Princeton as our senior night,” outside hitter Ellis DeJardin ’22 said. “We’ve worked so hard all season and we are ready to lay out everything we’ve got for this last night in JLA. These seniors have done so much for the program and have been such great role models for all of us. It’ll be really special to play for them this weekend.”
If the Elis are successful in downing Princeton, then the two teams will go toe-to-toe again to determine the recipient of an NCAA bid. Before Saturday, the Tigers also have a match-up against Brown. If both the Bears and the Bulldogs defeat Princeton, then Yale will play Brown on Sunday at 3 p.m. in New Haven. Then, on the condition that the Blue and White emerges victorious against Bruno, Yale would win the Ivy League Championship outright.
Princeton, who boasts a nine-game winning streak, will square up against Brown on Friday.
“It will be really exciting to be home, back in the lovely JLA [with] our home crowd,” head coach Erin Appleman said. “Our backs are against the walls. You’ve got to take care of business; it’s a do or die weekend. I think our team is going to prepare as best they can and hopefully be able to perform.”
The Bulldogs will face the Tigers on Saturday at 5 p.m. at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.
Margaret Hedeman | email@example.com