VOLLEYBALL: Bulldogs shine in dominant match against Penn, fall to Princeton
In its first Ivy away games of the season, the Yale volleyball team dominated Penn in a 3–1 win, but lost to then-conference leader Princeton in a four-set match.
Lukas Flippo, Senior Photographer
The Yale volleyball team maintained their third place spot in conference standings with a 4–3 record after wrapping up the first half of Ivy play with a win and a loss last weekend.
The strengths of the team (11–5–0, 4–3–0 Ivy) were on full display last Saturday as they overwhelmed Penn (5–11–0, 2–5–0 Ivy), which is currently ranked seventh among the Ancient Eight, in a 3–1 match. The Bulldogs were able to bounce back and get the win against the Quakers after falling to Princeton on Friday. The Blue and White lost 3–1 to the Tigers, who were then undefeated and ranked first in the League.
“I think we did some really good things [last] weekend,” outside hitter Kathryn Attar ’22 wrote to the News. “We played well, and we’re really growing together game by game.”
The match against Princeton — a rematch of the 2019 Ivy League Final — saw both powerhouses trading blows throughout. The Bulldogs had a solid start against the Tigers, taking the first set 25–23. However, Princeton bounced back to take the next two sets 25–15 and 25–21. Though the Elis gradually closed gaps and were at one point tied with Princeton 21–21 in the fourth set, their efforts fell short, ultimately losing by a 3-point margin. Despite the loss, Yale still surpassed Princeton in some categories, such as number of ace serves.
The game against Penn was much more one-sided. The Bulldogs set the pace for the match with an efficient 0.224 overall hitting percentage — almost twice that of the Quakers. Yale also made 10 serving aces and outmatched Penn in points, kills, blocks and assists. The Bulldogs took the first two sets 25–19 each, but slipped slightly in the third and fell 25–23. The Elis quickly regained focus in the critical fourth set, pulling off a series of consecutive rallies to win the match with a 25–19 final set.
“We got better this last weekend and realized a lot of the things that we are capable of,” middle hitter Fatima Samb ’25 said to the News. However, Samb added that she “still [thinks] there’s a lot to accomplish for [the team] over the next month.”
The matches against Princeton and Penn were the first Ivy games away from home for the Elis. The Bulldogs have now faced every Ancient Eight team at least once and will enter the second round of conference play. With only seven matches left in the season, the Blue and White will look to intensify their quest for the top spot in the Ivy rankings.
“This is a big turning point in the season and I think we are excited to really prove ourselves in the second half,” libero Maile Somera ’24 wrote to the News. “We are a young team, and we are excited to get a second opportunity to play everyone and fight for the title.”
This week, the Blue and White will head back on the road to face a formidable Brown squad, who are currently undefeated in the conference. The Bears will be coming into the matchup with significant momentum, as they recently dethroned Princeton for the top spot in the Ivy League rankings with a 3–1 win last Saturday. Brown has won ten matches in a row and has tied its best conference start in school history.
The last time the two teams faced off was in this season’s Ivy opener, where the Bulldogs fell narrowly to the Bears in a thrilling five-set match at home. This time, the Blue and White will travel to Rhode Island, where their opponents will have home court advantage.
“We lost to Brown in a close tiebreaker our first game,” Somera wrote to the News. “So I think everyone is excited to have a redemption game to prove that we are the stronger team.”
The match against Brown will take place on Friday, Oct. 22 at 7:00 p.m.