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Red-Hot Bulldogs Sweep Princeton For Eighth Consecutive Win

Bridget Hearst. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Bridget Hearst. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Senior Cat Dailey slammed a match-best 14 kills and freshman Kerry Clavadetscher dished out 42 assists to lead the Yale volleyball team to a sweep of perennial Ivy League rival Princeton at the John J. Lee Amphitheater in New Haven on Friday night. The Bulldogs claimed the match by scores of 25-21, 25-22 and 25-21. Senior Alexis Crusey and sophomore Bridget Hearst joined Dailey with double-figure kills, posting 10 and 11 finishers, respectively.

With the win, Yale improves to 12-1 overall, the best start in program history. The Bulldogs are also 2-0 in the Ivy League and have won their last 10 Ancient Eight matches dating back to last season. Princeton falls to 2-11 overall and 0-2 against Ivy League competition.

“We played tough against a very good Princeton team,” said Yale Head Coach Erin Appleman. “Princeton is always a good test for us, and we responded very well today.”

The Bulldogs posted a solid .314 hitting percentage in the contest, while holding Princeton to a .182 clip. Yale has held every opponent below a .200 hitting percentage during its current eight-match winning streak. Yale doubled-up the Tigers in the blocking battle, 6-3, and landed five service aces to Princeton’s four.

Dailey complimented her 14 kills, which came on 32 swings for a .375 hitting percentage, with eight digs. Crusey added seven digs and match-best four blocks, including two solo stuffs. Freshman Haley Wessels had eight kills on 20 errorless swings (.400) and senior Laurel Johnson hit .500, registering five kills on eight swings with just one error. Clavadetscher added a kill to her 42 assists to round out the Yale offense. Junior Kelly Ozurovich had a match-high 17 digs to jump into the all-time top 10 with 1,027 digs in her career.

“Our middles [Johnson and Wessels] both played very well,” said Appleman. “And Bridget was a spark for our offense with a lot of great swings early on.”

Sheena Donohue had a team-high 12 kills for Princeton. C.C. Lobben led the Tigers with 12 digs, and Molly Bagshaw distributed 26 assists.

In the first set, Yale picked up the first three points, including two kills by Johnson, to take a quick 3-0 lead. After Princeton took two of the next three rallies to cut the lead to 4-2, the Bulldogs responded with a 4-0 run, fueled by three straight Hearst kills, to grab a commanding 8-2 advantage. While the Tigers never went on an extended run over the next stretch of action, the visiting team put together several two- and three-point spurts to climb all the back to a 16-16 deadlock. At that point, the Bulldogs fired back with a five-point onslaught. Princeton never begged off in the set, but the lead proved insurmountable as a Hearst kill closed out the set with Yale taking it, 25-21.

Hearst hammered home seven kills in the set to lead all players, while Wessels had six finishers on seven attempts for a .857 percentage. In total, the Bulldogs hit .317 (18-5-41) in the frame while Princeton swung at a .237 (12-3-38) rate. Clavadetscher assisted on 16 of Yale’s 18 kills in the stanza. Ozurovich had a set-best 10 digs.

Set two saw the Bulldogs playing from behind for the first time, as Princeton claimed an 8-6 lead in the early stages of the frame. Yale would take two straight points to tie the score at 8-8, but the Tigers responded in kind with three points in a row. The Princeton lead grew to four points at 14-10, forcing Appleman to use her first timeout. The Bulldogs responded to their head coach by taking five of the next six rallies to tie the score at 15-15. After the teams traded points to knot the score again at 16-16, a Dailey kill give Yale its first lead of the set since it was 3-2. Johnson and Clavadetscher teamed up for a block on the next point to extend the Bulldogs’ lead to 18-16, and the home team fought off the Tigers the rest of way to a 25-22 victory.

Crusey slammed seven kills in the frame, including the set-ender, to lead all players. Hearst had four finishers and Dailey added three. As a team, Yale was once again over .300 at .343 (16-4-35) while Princeton improved to a .250 (13-5-32) hitting percentage. Clavadetscher doled out 13 more assists to run her total to 29 through two sets, and Dailey posted a team-best four digs in the stanza.

In set three, it was Yale that hung on to a slim lead through the first half of the frame, while Princeton battled back to another 16-16 stalemate. Once again, Yale bested the Tigers at that point with four straight points, including consecutive aces by sophomore Katie Cordell, to take a 20-16 lead. The four point edge proved to be the difference as Yale closed out the match with a 25-21 set-three win.

Dailey, the reigning Ivy League Player of the Year, took over in the third set with nine kills on 14 swings with only one error (.571). Clavadetscher again had 13 assists, and Ozurovich posted four digs. The Bulldogs dipped just below .300 in the set with a .286 (15-3-42) hitting percentage. Set three was also the worst offensive frame for the Tigers, who hit just .075 (10-7-40).

Yale is back in action tomorrow, as Penn visits the John J. Lee Amphitheater for a 4 p.m. contest. The 11-4 Quakers, who swept at Brown tonight to join Yale at 2-0 in the Ivy League, were the lone Ancient Eight team to defeat the Bulldogs last season, as well as the only team to down Yale in the Elm City.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity