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Bulldogs Return Home to Challenge Dartmouth and Harvard

Kerry Clavadetscher and Laurel Johnson. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Kerry Clavadetscher and Laurel Johnson. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. –
After knocking off Cornell and Columbia in its first Ivy League road weekend to improve to 4-1 in Ancient Eight action, the Yale volleyball team returns to the familiar confines of the John J. Lee Amphitheater to host Dartmouth and Harvard in another crucial weekend of league competition. The Bulldogs, who are 14-2 overall in 2009, will challenge Big Green on Friday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. and will meet perennial rival Harvard on Oct. 24 for a 4 p.m. contest. Live stats and Yale All-Access streaming video will be available for both matches.

Last Time Out
Yale rebounded from its first Ivy League loss of the season with road wins at Cornell and Columbia. Freshman Kerry Clavadetscher earned Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors for her performance against Big Red and the Lions, while sophomore Bridget Hearst, who crushed an amazing 27 kills in four sets at Columbia, was named to the Ivy League Weekly Honor Roll.

This Is Our House
Yale is 8-1 in home matches this season. The Bulldogs went 9-1 in the Elm City last season, including a 6-1 home record against Ivy League competition. Only Penn has defeated Yale at the John J. Lee Amphitheater in each of the last two seasons.

Getting Back on Track
Including the sweep at Cornell on Oct. 16, Yale has won seven straight matches following a loss. The Bulldogs were last defeated in consecutive matches in September of 2008 at the Penn State Classic against the eventual-National Champion Lady Lions and Saint Louis, a team that finished last season ranked at No. 21 in the nation. Yale’s last three wins following a defeat have been 3-0 sweeps.

Scouting Big Green (Oct. 23 – 7 p.m.)
After dropping its last three contests, all league matches, Dartmouth enters the weekend at 7-9 overall and 3-3 in Ivy League play. The Big Green offense is led by 3.55 kills per set from Madeline Baird, the fourth-highest total in the Ancient Eight. Kendall Houston runs the offense to the tune of 7.57 assists per frame, and Amber Bryant ranks eighth in the Ivy League with a team-best 3.43 digs per set. As a team, Dartmouth is fifth in hitting percentage (.182), third in aces (1.42 per set), fourth in opponent hitting percentage (.187) and sixth in blocks (1.69 per set). In the non-conference season, Yale and Big Green both hosted and swept Quinnipiac and Central Connecticut State.

Bulldogs vs. Big Green
Including a pair of sweeps in 2008, Yale leads the all-time series with Big Green, 32-8. Coach Appleman is 10-2 all-time against Dartmouth and has never dropped a match to Big Green in New Haven. Yale, the winner of the last three meetings between the two squads, is 12-3 against Big Green in matches played at the John J. Lee Amphitheater. The Bulldogs boast the longest winning streak in the series, taking the first 16 all-time matchups from 1987-1996. Dartmouth followed that stretch with its longest winning streak, a four-match run from 1997-98.

Scouting the Crimson (Oct. 24 – 4 p.m.)
Currently sitting at 7-10 overall and 3-3 in the Ivy League, Harvard travels to Brown on Friday night before visiting the John J. Lee Amphitheater for Saturday’s contest against the Bulldogs. The Crimson lost at Penn on Saturday to snap a three-match winning streak. Harvard boasts the Ivy League’s most efficient attacker in Sandra Lynne Fryhofer, who is swinging at a clip of .308. Anne Carroll Ingersoll, the leading blocker in the Ancient Eight with 1.10 blocks per set, is hitting .298 with a team-best 2.83 kills per frame. Lily Durwood performs setting duties for the Crimson, piling up 9.35 assists per set, and Christine Wu lands at third in the Ivy League with 5.02 digs per set to lead Harvard defensively. The Crimson ranks fourth in the league with a .183 hitting percentage and is last in the Ivy League in opponent hitting percentage (.223). The Cantabs are also fourth in blocks (1.85 per set) and service aces (1.32 per set).

Bulldogs vs. Crimson
Entering the 46th all-time meeting between Yale and Harvard, the Bulldogs hold a 31-14 lead in the series. The Bulldogs are 14-3 at home all-time against the Crimson, and Coach Appleman holds an 11-2 career record against Yale’s historic rival. Yale’s current 10-match winning streak, which dates back to 2004, is the longest by either team in the series. The longest winning streaks for the Cantabs are a pair of three-match stretches from 1989-90 and 2002-03.

Around the Ivy League
The other half of the Ancient Eight will be at Penn and Princeton this weekend, as the Quakers and Tigers host Cornell and Columbia. Penn enters the weekend atop the Ivy League standings at 5-0. This weekend marks the halfway point of the Ivy League season, as every team will have played each other at least once after Saturday’s slate of matches.

An Instant Impact
After playing an integral part in the Bulldogs’ 2-0 road weekend at Cornell and Columbia, Kerry Clavadetscher has been recognized by the Ivy League as its Rookie of the Week. The freshman setter, who averaged 12.86 assists per set in seven frames of action last weekend, has now earned the distinction in two of the past three weeks. For the season, Clavadetscher has been the second-most prolific setter in the Ivy League with an average of 10.50 assists per frame. The Seattle, Wash. native has also contributed 2.12 digs per set, 19 blocks, 17 kills and six aces in 42 sets of action.

The Hits Kept on Coming
Sophomore Bridget Hearst turned in a remarkable performance in Yale’s four-set win at Columbia on Saturday. Hearst tallied a match-best 27 kills on 35 swings with just four errors for a stellar .657 hitting percentage. Her 27 kills marked the most by a Yale player since Shannon Farrell ’07 totaled 31 kills in five sets against Cornell in the 2004 Ivy League Playoff. Hearst was recognized for her performance as a member of the Ivy League Weekly Honor Roll.

On Crusey Control
One of the most dominant players in the Ivy League for the past three seasons, senior outside hitter Alexis Crusey is currently averaging 2.94 kills and 3.38 digs per frame, ranking at ninth in the Ancient Eight in both categories. The three-time first team All-Ivy honoree ranks fifth in Yale history with 1,174 kills and ninth in digs with 1,099 entering this weekend. Against Ivy League competition, Crusey ranks ninth in blocks with 0.83 per set. Prior to the Ivy League season, Crusey grabbed All-Tournament Team honors at both the Yale Invitational and the American Volleyball Classic and took home Most Valuable Player laurels at the Yale Classic. Her performance at the Yale Classic also merited Ivy League Player of the Week honors.

The Wizard
Junior libero Kelly Ozurovich reached a milestone in the Oct. 2 sweep of Brown, as she tallied her 1,000th career dig. Ozurovich, an All-Ivy honoree in both of her previous seasons at Yale, currently leads the Ivy League and ranks fourth in all of Division I with 5.69 digs per set this season. A two-time Ivy League Weekly Honor Roll selection this season, Ozurovich currently sits at 10th all-time in Yale history with 1,090 digs.

Cat Power

Senior outside hitter Cat Dailey, the reigning Ivy League Player of the Year, has picked up where she left off in 2008, as she currently leads the Ancient Eight in kills with 4.28 per set, including a 4.44 kills per set average against Ivy League competition. Dailey is also in the Ivy League top 10 in hitting percentage (fourth, .294), service aces (fourth, 0.33 per set) and digs (10th, 3.33 per set). She was named Ivy League Player of the Week in the first week of action this season after hitting at a sizzling .487 clip, notching 39 kills on 78 attempts with just one error (4.88 kills per set) en route to being named the Most Valuable Player of the Yale Invitational.

Hey, I Know You
There will be a familiar face on the bench for the Harvard Crimson on Saturday, as Yale graduate Shannon Farrell ’07 patrols the sidelines for the Cantabs in her first season as an assistant coach. Farrell was a three-time All-Ivy first team honoree (2004-06) and was twice selected by Coach Appleman as the Bulldogs’ team MVP (2004, 2006). She ranks seventh all-time at Yale in kills (1,099), 10th in career hitting percentage (.225) and 12th (1,003) in career digs.

The Ministry of Defense
As potent as the Yale offense has been thus far in 2009, the Bulldogs’ defense has certainly done its part in guiding the squad to its 14-2 record. Yale currently leads all Ivy League teams in digs (18.65 per set), blocks (2.31 per set) and opponent hitting percentage (.129).

Homecoming Queen
Playing in her home state of New Jersey, senior Laurel Johnson hit a commanding .424 (29-4-59) as the Bulldogs swept a trio of matches on Sept. 18-19 to win the Seton Hall Invitational. The Cherry Hill, N.J. native earned All-Tournament and Ivy League Player of the Week honors on the back of averaging 3.22 kills per set and amassing a tournament-best 1.22 blocks per set.

Hit Me With Your Best Shot
Yale’s straight-set win over Binghamton on Sept. 26 marked the Bulldogs’ third victory this season against an opponent that was selected to win its conference in the preseason coaches’ poll. The Bearcats, representing the America East Conference, join Fairfield from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and the Patriot League preseason favorite, American University, on the Bulldogs’ hit list.

Road Dogs
The Bulldogs are 4-0 in true road contests this season, and 6-1 in all matches away from the John J. Lee Amphitheater in 2009. Yale is in the midst of a 10-match winning streak in Ivy League road matches, having not lost on an Ancient Eight foe’s home court since Nov. 10, 2007 at Princeton.

Starting Strong
Yale’s 12-1 start to the 2009 campaign was the best in program history. The 2005 Bulldogs, who previously owned the best start in Yale history, started 11-1 en route to a 20-4 (11-3 Ivy) finish. Yale’s 10-1 tally in non-conference contests this season signifies the best non-league mark for a Yale squad since 2001, when the non-conference schedule was shortened in favor of a 14-match Ivy League slate.

High School Heroines, the Internet’s first and only website dedicated to covering club and high school volleyball on a national level, selected the Yale Class of 2013 as a High Honorable Mention in its annual rankings of the nation’s top recruiting classes, as determined by a panel of over 100 collegiate coaches. The Yale class of 2013 consists of Anya Cekauskas, Kerry Clavadetscher, Julia Cortopassi and Haley Wessels. Two of the four Ivy League recruiting classes to ever receive High Honorable Mention status have been Yale squads. The Bulldogs’ Class of 2010 (current seniors Alexis Crusey, Laurel Johnson, Julia Mailander and Lydia Mailander) also earned the distinction in 2006.

Trend Setters
Yale is the only Ivy League volleyball program to notch a win in the NCAA Championships. The 2004 Bulldogs, the first Ancient Eight squad to host an NCAA Championship match, knocked off Albany in five sets to tally the first postseason win in conference history. The 2008 Yale team then defeated Ohio in the University Park (Pa.) Subregional to become the first Ivy League team to win an NCAA Championship match away from its home court.

State Troopers
Including the sweeps of Fairfield, Central Connecticut State and Quinnipiac this season, the Bulldogs are 96-29 all-time against opponents from the state of Connecticut. Yale’s most frequent opponent from the Nutmeg State has been the University of Hartford, against which the Bulldogs are 21-3. The University of Connecticut has had the most success against the Bulldogs among in-state rivals with a 12-4 advantage in the series. Head Coach Erin Appleman is 11-2 versus the Constitution State, with both losses coming at the hands of the Huskies.

Beaten By the Best
The Bulldogs’ record-setting 2008 season ended in the NCAA Championship Second Round at the hands of No. 1 Penn State. The match, which was held on the Lady Lions’ home court, was the 34th consecutive sweep for the eventual national champions, who dropped only two sets all season en route to a 38-0 finish. In total, five of Yale’s six losses in 2008 came at the hands of teams that advanced to the NCAA Championship tournament.

On the Court and in the Classroom
The American Volleyball Coaches Association has announced that the Bulldogs are among the recipients of the AVCA Team Academic Award. The award has been presented annually since 1993 to collegiate and high school volleyball teams that have displayed excellence in the classroom during the school year by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team grade-point average.

Dig, Set, Tweet!
The Yale volleyball team has a new home in cyberspace this season, courtesy of Twitter, at The Bulldogs’ Twitter page will feature news, information and live updates during most road matches.

2009 Schedule Notes
The 2009 schedule consists of 13 home matches and 12 road matches…The Bulldogs’ non-conference slate includes four opponents to whom they have never lost (Binghamton, Quinnipiac, Seton Hall, Virginia Tech), and an opponent they have never beaten (American)…Colorado and New Jersey Institute of Technology are both first-time opponents for Yale…Under Coach Appleman (2003-present), Yale has only played five of its 2009 non-conference opponents (Binghamton, Central Connecticut State, Georgetown, Hofstra, Quinnipiac). The Bulldogs are a combined 7-0 in those matches…Hofstra (Sept. 18) is the only repeat opponent from the 2008 non-conference schedule…Yale will only play two matches at the American Volleyball Classic (American and Virginia Tech). The fourth team at the event, NJIT, will challenge the Bulldogs the following weekend at the Seton Hall Tournament… Last season, Yale and Brown played a home-and-home series to open Ivy League play. This year, the series is split as the first and last matches of the Ancient Eight schedule…The Bulldogs will play three in-state opponents (Central Connecticut State, Fairfield, Quinnipiac), the most Nutmeg State foes they have challenged since 2005. Yale did not face any Connecticut squads in 2007 or 2008.

Team Up to Fight Cancer
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the volleyball team has combined efforts with the field hockey and women’s soccer teams this October for the first-ever “Team Up to Fight Cancer” initiative. The teams sold t-shirts and collected donations at home athletic events throughout the weekend of Oct. 2 to benefit the Yale Cancer Center, with the net proceeds being designated for breast cancer research.

Beach Blanket Broadcast
The Bulldogs relocated their morning practice on Friday, Aug. 28 from the familiar confines of the John J. Lee Amphitheater to scenic Hammonasset Beach in Madison, Conn. The defending Ivy League Champions hit the sand at Meig’s Point with the crew of the Fox 61 Morning News as a part of the “Zip Trip” segment, which highlights Connecticut-based attractions. Coach Appleman and members of the Yale team fielded questions from anchor Jeff Valin, while host Logan Byrnes took a few practice swings with the team.

Round Two
Next weekend, the Bulldogs begin a four-match road swing with Ivy League contests at Penn and Princeton. Penn, currently leading the Ivy League at 5-0, handed Yale its only Ancient Eight loss on Oct. 17 in New Haven. The Quakers hosts the Bulldogs on Friday, Oct. 30 at 7 p.m., and the Tigers from Princeton will challenge Yale on Oct. 31 at 4 p.m. Both contests are slated to feature live stats (courtesy of the home teams) and will have live Twitter updates throughout at

Yale Volleyball
Dartmouth Volleyball
Harvard Volleyball

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report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity