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Following a highly anticipated homestand, the Yale volleyball team is heading to the Stony Brook Invitational in New York this weekend with hopes of starting a winning streak on the road.

The Bulldogs (2–1–0, 0–0–0 Ivy) are going into their first away games of the season with momentum. They started the season strong with a win against Hartford (1–5–0, 0–0–0 America East) and wrapped up the Yale Invitational with a 3–0 sweep over Quinnipiac (1–5–0, 0–0–0 MAAC). Their loss against Syracuse (6–0-0, 0–0–0) left the Bulldogs with renewed motivation to triumph in the next tournament. This weekend, the Elis are set to play against the University of St. Thomas (1–4–0, 0–0–0 Summit League) on Friday. The following day, Yale will face host Stony Brook (2–5–0, 0–0–0 America East) and Tarleton State (3–3–0, 0–0–0 WAC).

“We’re working really hard in the gym every day … trying to just find new ways to get better each and every day,” libero Maile Somera ’24 told the News. “I think that we felt good coming into this first weekend and we’re gonna feel even better going into our tournament.”

Since 1998, Yale has only lost to Stony Brook once. The most recent matchup between the Bulldogs and the Seawolves took place in 2019 and ended with a dominant 3–0 victory for the Elis. Stony Brook enters the tournament fresh off a tough loss against Hofstra in straight sets.

Still, the Seawolves will also strive to have a victorious homestand with the help of their star players. Sophomore outside hitter Leoni Kunz recorded her third double-double of the year in Stony Brook’s match against Hofstra for digs and kills. Junior middle hitter and reigning America East Player of the Week Enitan Omolewa has remained consistent in her performance, tallying six kills and a pair of blocks against the Pride.

This weekend will be the first time the Bulldogs play Tarleton State University or the University of St. Thomas. Tarleton was only recently reclassified into the Western Atlantic Conference and became an NCAA Division I team in July 2020. The University of St. Thomas is set to make its NCAA Division I debut this weekend after reclassifying this year as well.

Following last week’s overall successful performance, Yale volleyball head coach Erin Appleman emphasized that by playing formidable teams, the Bulldogs can improve their performance.

“We’re just kind of really focusing on ourselves right now,” Appleman told the News. “Finding out what we can do, who can do what and starting to trust each other as a team –– [we are focused on that] more than we are focused on who our opponent is.”

Following this weekend’s tournament, Yale will play against the University of St. Thomas at 6:30 p.m.

Ángela Pérez is City Editor of the YDN. She was a former beat reporter, covering City Hall and Women's Volleyball. She was a former editor and writer for the WKND desk. She is from Puerto Rico and plans to major in Architecture.
Wei-Ting Shih covers baseball, volleyball and women's basketball as a staff reporter. Originally from Taiwan and Nicaragua, she is a sophomore in Grace Hopper College double-majoring in Ethics, Politics & Economics and History.