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In what seemed to be a moment of deja vu, the Yale volleyball team (14–5–0, 7–3 Ivy) ran rampant against Cornell (6–12–0, 2–8 Ivy) and Columbia (5–15–0, 2–8 Ivy), sweeping both Ancient Eight opponents in straight sets for the second time this season. 

The Blue and White faced off against Cornell on Friday at 7 p.m. and Columbia on Saturday at 5 p.m. The last time the Bulldogs played the Big Red and the Lions this season was at the beginning of October. Yale won both matches 3–0, an outcome which the squad was able to replicate in last weekend’s match-ups. 

“[The team continues] to improve,” Yale volleyball head coach Erin Appleman said. “We felt comfortable and in control. Where we place now is in our hands, so we just have to take care of business and look at things one game at a time.”

After last week’s matches, Cornell and Columbia dropped to the bottom of the conference, and now sit at seventh and eighth place, respectively. By contrast, the Yale volleyball team was able to improve its standing to second place with its pair of critical wins after two weeks in third place. The Elis now sit behind Brown in the Ancient Eight standings. The Bulldogs have four consecutive wins under their belt, as well as a solid 7–3 conference record. 

“It was great to have so much success on the road,” middle hitter Fatima Samb ’25 said about Yale’s recent matches. Samb was among the Yale leaders in kills for the Cornell game and blocks against Columbia. “Two sweeps is really what we needed to move up in the rankings and this also allowed us to have so much fun in the process.”

The Blue and White played well against Cornell, hitting 0.255 in the match and holding their opponent to just a 0.117 hitting percentage. Yale won the first set 25–21, the second set 25–15 and the third set 25–20. The Bulldogs’ defense was especially strong in this match, as the squad managed to outperform Cornell in assists and digs. Yale has now won its past six matches against the Big Red. 

Building upon their victory from the previous day, the Elis performed even better against the Lions, controlling the match steadily from the get-go. Yale won the first two sets 25–17. Though Columbia attempted to rally, Yale’s strong offense and defense stifled their efforts. The Blue and White outmatched their opponent in digs and assists and had 13 more kills. The Elis were also dominant from the service line, setting an Ivy League season high with 12 aces in the match. Yale wrapped up the game smoothly by winning the third set 25–20.

After three weeks on the road, the Bulldogs will finally return to the John J. Lee Amphitheater for its last home matches of the season. They will face off against Penn and Princeton, which are currently ranked sixth and third respectively.

“We are so excited to play at home this weekend and defend our court,” libero Maile Somera ’24 told the News. Somera had a strong performance last week, accumulating two aces, eight assists and 23 digs. “Princeton and Penn are two big games that will determine our placement in the league this year. I am so excited to just give it our all and play lights out.” 

Yale’s volleyball team has four matches left in the regular season. 

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.