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Penn Edges Bulldogs, 3-1

Julia Mailander. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Julia Mailander. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

PHILADELPHIA — Since the beginning of the 2008 season, the Yale volleyball team has posted a 19-3 record in Ivy League play. Including tonight’s contest at the Palestra in Philadelphia, all three of those defeats have come at the hands of one team: The Penn Quakers. The Bulldogs got double-doubles from seniors Alexis Crusey and Cat Dailey, and double-digit digs from four players in total, but Penn got the better of Yale tonight, taking the match in four sets by scores of 23-25, 25-20, 25-23 and 25-21.

With the loss, Yale falls to 16-3 overall and 6-2 in Ivy League play. The defeat snaps the Bulldogs’ 10-match winning streak in Ivy League road contests, and marks the first time that Yale has been swept in a season series since 2007. Penn, who takes both ends of the home-and-home series with Yale for the first time since 2003, stays unbeaten in the Ivy League at 8-0 (17-4 overall).

“This match was won and lost on the defensive end,” said Yale Head Coach Erin Appleman. “Both teams got clutch performances from their key players, but Penn was the better team today; they deserve this win”.

Crusey had 21 kills, sharing the match high with Penn freshman Lauren Martin, and 11 digs. She has now passed Kristina Kliszewski ’93 for fourth place on the Bulldogs’ all-time kills list with 1,213. Dailey turned in 19 kills and a team-best 17 digs. Junior Kelly Ozurovich and senior captain Julia Mailander both reached double-figure digs with 16 and 11, respectively. Freshman Kerry Clavadetscher ran the offense from the setter position and distributed 45 assists.

As a team, the Bulldogs hit .190 (53-19-179) while Penn swung at a .202 (67-29-168) clip. The Bulldogs outblocked their opponents, 13-7, led by sophomore Taylor Cramm, who had a hand in 10 Yale blocks.

The squads battled back and forth to a 12-12 deadlock in set one before Yale ran off four straight points, punctuated by a block from Hearst and Cramm, to force a Penn timeout. The Quakers came out firing after the stoppage, as they grabbed five of the next six points to tie the score at 17-17, at which point it was the Bulldogs who took their first timeout of the set. The stalemate held all the way to 21-21, when Yale got kills from Wessels and Crusey to take a 23-21 advantage. Penn regrouped with a timeout and took the next two points to deadlock the score for the 16th time in the set at 23-23. After an Appleman timeout, Crusey hammered her fifth kill to push the score to set point, and a block by Cramm and Hearst finished it, with the Bulldogs taking a 25-23 win.

The Quakers won four of the first five rallies to gain an early advantage in set one and extended their lead to 10-3 to force an early Yale timeout. The Bulldogs hung tough the rest of the way, but the early lead proved insurmountable as Penn led wire-to-wire to take the second set, 25-20, to knot the match at 1-1 entering the intermission.

The Bulldogs jumped out to an early two-point lead in the pivotal third set, but a four-point spurt from the Quakers quickly put them up by a pair, 8-6. The two-point cushion held to 11-9, when consecutive Penn attack errors knotted the score at 11-11. The deadlock ran to 15-15, at which point the Quakers ran off a trio of points to take an 18-15 lead and force a Yale timeout. Penn kept the pressure on out of the stoppage, and score the Bulldogs were taking their second timeout, now trailing 21-17. The Quakers would bring their lead to set point at 24-21, but the Bulldogs broke a pair of set-point chances before Penn finally put set three away, 25-23, to take a 2-1 edge in the match.

Set four started out with a 4-4 tie, before the Quakers made the first run- a four-point spurt to force a Yale timeout trailing 8-4. The four-point lead held to 15-11, when a kill by Wessels and an ace from Crusey brought the Bulldogs within two points to cause Penn to burn its first timeout. The Quakers stormed back out of the stoppage to regain a four-point edge at 18-14. Yale would battle back to within two at 20-18, but Penn would keep the Bulldogs at an arm’s length the rest of the way, winning the match with a 25-21 victory.

Aside from Martin’s 21 kills, Penn got double-doubles from both Elizabeth Semmens (18 kills, 16 digs) and Julia Swanson (12 kills, 14 digs). Megan Tryon dished out 56 assists for the Quakers, and Madison Wojciechowski had a match-high 25 digs.

The Bulldogs are back in action tomorrow, as they travel to Princeton to face the Tigers. First serve from Dillon Gymnasium is scheduled for 4 p.m.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity