VOLLEYBALL: Triumphant Bulldogs back on the road to face Cornell and Columbia
After getting an important win against formerly undefeated Brown in a five-set thriller, the Yale volleyball team will be traveling to New York this weekend to face off against Cornell and Columbia.
While some students left campus for fall break, the Yale volleyball team (12–5–0, 5–3–0 Ivy) traveled to Rhode Island last weekend, winning a highly-anticipated rematch against Brown (14–4–0, 7–1–0 Ivy).
Prior to the match, Brown was undefeated in Ivy play. The Bears’ 7–0 conference record was also the best season start the squad had ever recorded in school history. However, the Bulldogs were able to bring their opponent’s 10-game winning streak to an end in a thrilling 3–2 victory. The match was a close one, featuring a total of 26 ties and 11 lead changes. The Elis now have a two-game winning streak and will seek to continue the good form as they prepare to face off against Cornell (6–10–0, 2–6–0 Ivy) and Columbia (5–12–0, 2–6–0 Ivy) this weekend.
“Our team has definitely gotten a lot better since we played [Brown] the first time,” Yale volleyball head coach Erin Appleman told the News. “We were very prepared and our team was very focused. I was really proud of how the team kept fighting, kept believing in themselves and stuck with the game plan.”
The last time the Blue and White played the Bears was in this season’s Ivy opener. Yale fell 3–2 to the Bears in a close match, which ended an eight-game winning streak against Brown. Despite the opponent’s home court advantage in last week’s matchup, the Bulldogs were unfazed by the change in scenery.
“The win at Brown this weekend was exactly what our team needed and deserved at this point of the season,” outside hitter Tiffany Pedersen-Henry ’23 wrote to the News. “We’ve been working really hard at practice every week and had some tough losses at home early on, so taking down Brown is a huge win for us. It was truly a team win.”
The Elis dominated in the first set, winning 25–17 while hitting an impressive 0.500. Yale also took the next set, but the Bears rallied and fought in hopes of a comeback, winning the third and fourth sets 25–20 and 26–24. In the final set Yale managed to edge out its opponent 15–13.
Both teams were well-matched, with Yale’s hitting percentage only 0.006 greater than that of Brown. However, the Elis edged out their Ancient Eight rival in defensive measures such as blocks and continued to show its serving prowess, making nine service aces in the match.
“The game against Brown was super fun and high energy,” outside hitter Cara Shultz ’25. “Both teams fought really hard and we played some great volleyball.”
Many Elis shone in the match against Brown. Outside hitter Kathryn Attar ’22 and setter Carly Diehl ’25 both had double-doubles. Attar had double-digits in kills and digs, while Diehl had double-digits in assists and digs. For her outstanding offensive performance in the match, Attar was named the Ivy League Player of the Week. Diehl contributed to the match with 34 assists and four aces.
After playing Brown, the Bulldogs are more than halfway through their conference season with six games left to play. Appleman acknowledged that the team did not have “the best schedule in the world” down the stretch but that the squad has been enjoying their bonding opportunities.
“It’s definitely difficult knowing that we have three weekends left [in the season], and two of those are on the road,” Appleman told the News. “However, our goal is still the same. Control what we can control, and do what we can do to get better.”
Yale’s next opponents, Cornell and Columbia, are ranked sixth and seventh respectively in the Ivy League. The Big Red and the Lions played each other in their last contest last Saturday with Cornell edging the contest 3–2. That was the second time the teams had faced off this season. The previous time the New York state rivals met was in late September and Cornell lost 3–1.
Both Cornell and Columbia were swept in straight sets by Yale’s squad the last time they faced off in early October. The Bulldogs will play the Big Red on Friday at 7 p.m. and have a five-match winning streak against them. The Elis will square off against the Lions on Saturday at 5 p.m. and seek to extend their eight-match winning streak.
“We’re really looking forward to heading to New York to play Cornell and Columbia this weekend,” Pedersen-Henry said to the News. “Even though we miss playing in front of our home crowd, we’re excited to continue traveling together and taking down some teams on their own courts.”
After the weekend matches, the Bulldogs will return to the John J. Lee Amphitheatre on Nov. 5 to host Penn.