VOLLEYBALL: Bulldogs beat Harvard, winning Ivy League Title
The Yale women’s volleyball team beat Dartmouth and Harvard this weekend to cap off a historic regular season and earn the number one seed in next weekend’s playoff
Jenny Liu, Contributing Photographer
The Yale women’s volleyball team (21–2, 13–1 Ivy) is the 2022 Ivy League regular season champion.
This weekend, the Bulldogs beat Dartmouth College (16–8, 8–6 Ivy) and Harvard University (5–17, 4–10 Ivy) to finish the regular season at the top of Ivy standings. With the victory, the team secured the right to host next weekend’s Ivy League playoffs as the No. 1 seed.
“I’m honestly just so proud of the team and how we have worked all season,” Audrey Leak ’24 told the News. “I think our championship is just a reflection of all the work that we put in practice every day … Both Harvard and Dartmouth are super solid teams and I’m just happy that we were able to trust in each other and fight to the win.”
On Nov. 11, the Bulldogs beat the Big Green in three tight sets. During the first set, both teams battled with back-and-forth wins and kept the score close. However, the Blue and White ended the set with two attack errors from Dartmouth to take the period by a score of 27-25.
Dartmouth opened the second set with a competitive spirit and fought to stay close in score. With a narrow 9–7 lead, Gigi Barr ’25 landed a kill that shifted momentum in favor of the Bulldogs.
The Elis went on to nab an eight-point streak with 4 kills and a service ace before comfortably winning the set with a 25–19 victory.
The third set followed a similar script to the second as the Big Green remained competitive before the Bulldogs swung into another winning streak of eight points. The Blue and White racked up six kills from Fatima Samb ’25, Leak and Lauren Kellen ’26 and a service ace by Mila Yarich ’25. This time, the Blue and White took the set by a score of 25–18 to claim a 3–0 victory.
On the following night, the Bulldogs kept to their dominant ways and swept Harvard during their senior night to clinch the conference title.
Leak started the first set with two kills in a row. Yale shot out to a 13–5 lead before Harvard made it 17–10. The Bulldogs went on a run which ended with a kill by Amelia Brown ’24 and a first set victory of 25–11.
“I just thought we did a really great job of defending our own court and coming out aggressive from the start.” said Maile Somera ’24. “We’re a young team so there was the potential to … play with nerves and be tentative knowing what was on the line, but I thought we came out and went for it 100 percent the whole time.”
In the second set, the Bulldogs rode their momentum to a 25–12 victory. Cara Shultz ’25 had six kills and Carly Diehl ’25 had 11 assists in the set.
In the third set, both teams won back and forth points until late in the set, when the Bulldogs pulled away to win 25–19. Their third set win capped off a regular season in which the team had an overall winning percentage of .913, the best out of any Yale volleyball team on record.
“We’ve been working hard each week and it’s certainly been paying off, but we’re not done yet.” said captain Renee Shultz ’23. “I’m thrilled we can host the Ivy tournament next weekend. Until then we’re going to celebrate this regular season championship and keep working hard for the playoffs.”
The playoff bracket is set. Yale has the number one seed, Princeton (21–3, 13–1) has the second, Brown (14–9, 10–4) has the third and Dartmouth the fourth.
The Bulldogs will play Dartmouth on Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. for the first round of the tournament. That game and all other Ivy playoff games will be at John J. Lee Amphitheater in Payne Whitney Gymnasium.