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Despite losing a close match against Harvard (6–8–0, 4–1–0 Ivy), the Yale volleyball team (10–4–0, 3–2–0 Ivy) was able to wrap up its weekend nicely with a win against Dartmouth (8–6–0, 0–5–0 Ivy).

The Bulldogs played against the Crimson on Friday at 7 p.m. and the Big Green on Saturday at 5 p.m. Yale fell against Harvard in a fifth-set heartbreak after battling back from a two-set deficit. The Blue and White were able to bounce back from their loss, beating Dartmouth in a dominant performance that ended 3–1. 

“The weekend obviously didn’t go quite as planned, but I think it showed us what aspects of the game we need to work on before we get on the road again,” team captain and outside hitter Ellis DeJardin ’22 wrote to the News. “With that being said, this weekend also showed us just how good we can be when we are all playing together as one big unit.”

The games against Harvard and Dartmouth also marked the last weekend of home matches for the Elis. Next weekend, the Bulldogs will travel to New Jersey and Pennsylvania to face the Tigers and Quakers, respectively. The following away games will come against Brown, Cornell and Columbia.

“We just love to play, especially in our home gym,” middle hitter Fatima Samb ’25 wrote to the News. “I think we’re all glad to have had another home weekend before a few weekends on the road. Now we know what to work on for future games.”

The atmosphere at the Harvard match was electric, with more than 800 people gathering to support the Bulldogs over the course of the game, despite indoor attendance restrictions announced by Yale Athletics earlier this fall. The attendance tally at the Friday match was 144 people greater than the last home Yale-Harvard matchup in 2019.

“We love playing in front of our home crowd,” outside hitter Audrey Leak ’24 told the News. “The energy that our fans bring is contagious and really helps propel us throughout these long matches.”

The Elis had a slow start against the Crimson, dropping the first two sets 25–14 and 25–23. However, they closed the gap and rallied to win the next two sets 25–20 and 25–19. Both teams were equally-matched defensively and offensively. In the game, there was a mere 0.003 difference in the teams’ hitting percentages. Yale also edged out Harvard by one in blocks, assists and kills, though the Crimson had more ace serves and digs.

The Bulldogs would try to rally once more in the middle of the final set. However, the Crimson’s strong 6-0 start in the fifth set gave them a valuable advantage. The Elis ultimately lost the set 15–11.

“We wanted to do something exciting,” Yale volleyball head coach Erin Appleman told the News about the Harvard match. “Unfortunately, we did not play to our potential. That was disappointing, and that’s why we lost.”

In contrast to the match against the Crimson, Appleman mentioned that the team “cohesively [was] more prepared and ready to go” against Dartmouth. 

The Bulldogs clearly dominated the first set with 16 kills and a hitting percentage of 0.387. Yale slipped a little afterwards, allowing the Big Green to rebound and take the second set 25–22. However, the Blue and White showed their resilience and offensive prowess after winning the next two sets 25–20 and 25–22.

Though the young core of the team impressed once again in the two weekend matches, the upperclassmen were formidable in their contributions. Key players included outside hitters Kathryn Attar ’22 and Bonnie Bostic ’24. Carly Diehl ’25 gave a strong performance with 88 assists, 19 kills and four serving aces through the weekend. Outside hitter Tiffany Pedersen-Henry ’23, middle blocker Sam Bray ’23 and middle hitter Samb were outstanding defensively as blockers, accumulating 18 total blocks. Pedersen-Henry and Bray had 29 and 13 kills respectively this weekend, while Samb notched up 11 kills in the Dartmouth match alone.

“Princeton and Penn should be really exciting,” Samb said about the upcoming weekend. “They are both really great teams and playing them is going to make us even better as we approach the halfway point in Ivy League play.”

The Bulldogs are currently third in the Ivy League rankings with a 3–2 conference record.

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.