muscosportsphotos.com

Last weekend, the Yale volleyball team (9-3-0, 2-1-0 Ivy) was dominant against Columbia (4-8-0, 1-2-0 Ivy) and Cornell (4-7-0, 0-3-0 Ivy), winning both matches in straight sets. 

The Bulldogs’ 3-0 wins marked the first full weekend of Ivy League play. More than 400 people attended the matches at the John J. Lee Amphitheater, with 211 spectators at the Columbia match on Friday and 203 at the Cornell one on Saturday. Last weekend also marked the first time Yale had played the Lions and the Big Red in more than a year. 

“The best parts of our games this weekend were the fun and energy we brought [at] every point,” outside hitter Bonnie Bostic ’24 wrote to the News. “Everyone played a role in our success. Our offensive and defensive effort was the best it has been this season.”

The Blue and White have now extended their winning streaks against both teams. Yale is now unbeaten in eight games against Columbia and has come out on the winning side against Cornell for five games in a row. The Elis have also improved their Ivy League record to 2-1.

“This league is going to be competitive every time you go and play,” Yale volleyball head coach Erin Appleman told the News. “I was very happy to be able to win at home and for this young team to feel how it is to win Ivy League matches.”

The week before the matchups against Columbia and Cornell, the Yale volleyball team fell 3-2 in a close match against Brown. Despite the loss against the Bears, the Bulldogs were able to successfully bounce back this week and have shown no signs of slowing down in their quest to defend their 2019 Ivy title.

“I thought we made improvements … and ultimately did what we needed to do by sweeping,” libero Maile Somera ’24 wrote in a message to the News about the difference in outcomes. “I thought we were more aggressive and felt more cohesive as a team.”

The Bulldogs had slow starts in their first two sets of the match against the Lions, but were able to rally to seize control. Yale trailed 16-14 in the first set and then scored six straight points, and trailed 14-9 in the second set before surging back with 10 consecutive points. The Elis won the third set with a comfortable 25-16 lead.

The match against Cornell featured many tiebreakers. In the first set, the Bulldogs were tied at 19-19, but were able to score the next five points to dictate the pace of the game. In the second set, there was a 16-16 tie, but the Elis once again managed to rally together to win 25-19. In the final set, Yale was able to get out of a tough 22-22 tie by scoring the next three points to win the game and secure a sweep over Big Red. 

In addition to praising the team’s overall performance, Appleman also noted that the players “did a great job from the serving line.” The Bulldogs’ serving prowess was on full display last weekend, as they scored five aces against Columbia and nine against Cornell. By contrast, the Big Red only made four and the Lions didn’t manage a single one.

“I’m really proud of how we played this weekend,” outside hitter Mila Yarich ’25 wrote to the News. “I thought in both games we were able to stay composed and disciplined, no matter the score at times, which helped lead to our 3-0 sweeps. We felt prepared and knew what to expect from our opponents.”

Yarich was one of the outstanding players of the weekend and was recognized as the Ivy League Rookie of the Week for her contributions to Yale’s pair of wins. She had a .500 hitting percentage and managed 22 kills and 10 digs in total against the Lions and Big Red. Bostic was strong offensively as well, notching up 24 total kills. Outside hitter Kathryn Attar ’22 and Somera also gave strong performances, with 18 and 30 digs respectively. Setter Carly Diehl ’25 shone with 64 total assists and a critical service ace that brought the Bulldogs to match point against Cornell.

The Elis will now turn their attention towards the weekend, where they will face off against Harvard and Dartmouth for the last home matches of the month. Yale will then spend the next three weeks on the road, returning to New Haven to host the University of Pennsylvania on Friday, Nov. 5.

“We are looking forward to having another opportunity to win at home,” Somera said about the upcoming matches against the Crimson and Big Green. “We have been working hard in practice and are excited to dominate and show that we are getting better each week.”The Bulldogs currently sit third in the Ivy League volleyball rankings, behind Princeton and Brown.

WEI-TING SHIH
Wei-Ting Shih covers 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.