Yale Athletics

The Yale women’s volleyball team (18–1, 10–0 Ivy) nears the end of their season with a win streak of 16 games. The Bulldogs have dominated league play. In their 10 victories against other Ivies, they have won 30 sets and lost only five.

This weekend, they travel to Philadelphia to play against The University of Pennsylvania (2–18, 1–9 Ivy) and to New Jersey to play Princeton University (17–3, 9–1 Ivy). The Bulldogs played both teams three weeks ago in New Haven and won both matches 3–0. Currently, the Tigers are second among the Ancient Eight with only one loss — their defeat by Yale. The Quakers are at the bottom of the table with a five-game losing streak.

“We’re really excited for the weekend,” Cara Shultz ’25 told the News. “Both these teams present difficult challenges for us and we’re ready to work hard and get better as a team.”

On Oct. 14, the Bulldogs beat the visiting Tigers in three competitive sets and broke Princeton’s 10-game win-streak. With this win, the Blue and White claimed the top spot in league standings and extended their winning streak to 12. The next day, they beat Penn in another three set shutout at home.

Since then, the Elis have continued their success and clinched a berth in the Ivy League playoffs. The team needs three more wins to secure a first place seed for the tournament.

The players credit much of their success to their collective commitment to improve. 

“We’re constantly raising the bar and challenging ourselves to keep getting better.” captain Renee Shultz ’23 said.

Since their meeting against the Bulldogs, Penn has struggled. The Quakers finished the second half of October by losing to Princeton 1–3, Dartmouth College 0–3 and Harvard University 1–3. 

Leading Penn in kills in two of those games was senior Autumn Leak, sister of Yale volleyball player Audrey Leak ’24. Both sisters play outside hitters and will match up across the net this Friday.

Meanwhile, Princeton has surged through their schedule, winning four games in a row to stay close behind Yale in the Ivy League standings. As a result, the Elis’ matchup against Princeton will be one of the most important games of the regular season.

However, Yale head coach Erin Appleman is taking it one game at a time.

“Both [games] matter the same,” she said. “We’re just working on trying to get better ourselves, doing the little things that can get us a couple more points in every match.”

Their Friday night game against Penn will take place at the Palestra at 7:00 PM. The next day they will play against Princeton at Dillon Gymnasium at 5:00 PM.

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.