This past weekend, the Yale women’s volleyball team (13–1, 5–0 Ivy) extended their win streak to 11, adding victories against Harvard (2–11, 1–4) and Dartmouth (10–5, 2–3). 

Winning both games 3–1, the Bulldogs persevered over the Ivy League teams, as they projected strength on the court and maintained their perfect record. Coming out of a weeks-long stretch of away games, the Bulldogs will continue fighting in a game against fellow undefeated Ivy League school Princeton on Friday.

Against Harvard on Oct. 7, Yale did not trail once in the first set, winning 25–22. In the second set, however, the Bulldogs found themselves down 19–22 against the Crimson, who, despite what their record may suggest, refused to make the match an easy one. This was no surprise to Yale.

“It’s always fun matching up against Harvard,” outside hitter Cara Shultz ’25 told the News. “The rivalry between our two schools only makes that game that much more fun, and they’re great opponents as well.” 

To comeback from the second-set deficit, the Bulldogs found a spark in Lauren Kellen ’26, finishing the set with a 6–1 run to win 25–23. Kellen earned high praise from head coach Erin Appleman, who said Kellen “came in and played great.”

Harvard then won the third set but was no match for the Bulldogs in the fourth, as Yale won 25–23 to end the match. Audrey Leak ’24 led the Elis with 13 kills and Carly Diehl ’25 had a team-high four assists. Defensively, Maile Somera ’24 led the charge with 14 digs and Fatima Samb ’25 had four blocks.

“It’s definitely a challenge facing them in their home gym, but the energy is always pretty great and we’re proud of the win,” captain Renee Shultz ’23 said. “I’m excited to play them again later this season in our home gym.” 

In the second game of the weekend against Dartmouth the next day, Yale lost the first set 23–25. This did not discourage the team, however, who rarely found themselves behind on the scoreboard.

Undaunted, the Blue and White won the next three sets by scores of 25–19, 25–20 and 25–17 to emerge from Hanover with yet another win. Somera had a career night, leading the team with 18 kills and a season-high 20 digs.

“After dropping that first set to Dartmouth, we needed to refocus and get back into playing our game. Once we found our groove again and were able to maintain our level of play, we took care of business with better confidence and energy,” said Renee Shultz. 

The win marked the end of a three-week stretch on the road for the Bulldogs, who have yet to play an Ivy League game at home. 

Thanks in large part to their challenging early-season schedule, the Bulldogs have established a strong winning culture. In addition to their dominant win-loss record, the team hopes that their experiences from these first two weeks will allow them to grow even stronger for future competition.

“It’s not easy being on the road and competing in other teams’ gyms, but I’m really proud of how we have been able to stay focused and locked in on our goals,” Renee Shultz said. “This has been a great way to start off the Ivy League season, and now we’re looking forward to playing some matches at home and continuing to work hard and get better.”

Returning from their road trip unscathed, the Bulldogs have aced their first test of the Ivy League season. 

Another awaits them, however, in the form of the Princeton University Tigers (13–2, 5–0), who will come to New Haven this Friday for a match up between the only undefeated teams in the Ivy League. The result against Princeton will go a long way in positioning the teams for an Ivy League championship.

“This is a big weekend,” said Appleman. “Princeton is on a ten-game winning streak, we are on an eleven game winning streak, so we are excited to get home and play in [John J. Lee Amphitheater] in front of our great crowd.”

The match against Princeton will take place inside Payne Whitney Gymnasium on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. It will also be broadcasted on ESPN+.

Henry Frech is a junior in Jonathan Edwards College majoring in history and hailing from Salt Lake City, Utah. He covers volleyball and women's basketball for the YDN. This semester, he is studying abroad in Mérida, Mexico.