Dartmouth Downs Bulldogs, 3-1

Kelly Ozurovich (Photo by Don Clark, Yale Sports Publicity)
Kelly Ozurovich (Photo by Don Clark, Yale Sports Publicity)

HANOVER, N.H. — Senior Alexis Crusey recorded her fourth consecutive double-double and junior libero Kelly Ozurovich had a match- and season-high 31 digs, but the Yale volleyball team fell short on Saturday afternoon at Dartmouth, dropping a four-set decision to Big Green by set scores of 20-25, 25-13, 25-23 and 25-20. Crusey and Ozurovich both passed Phoebe Dann ’98 to move into a tie for seventh place on the Bulldogs’ career digs list with 1,190 each.

With the loss, Yale falls to 18-4 overall and 8-3 in the Ivy League. Big Green evens its record at 11-11 in victory and moves to 7-5 in Ancient Eight competition. The Bulldogs defeated Dartmouth in New Haven on Oct. 23 by a score of 3-0.

Crusey had 15 kills and 22 digs to fill out her double-double, and sophomore Bridget Hearst totaled 14 finishers for the Bulldogs. Freshman Haley Wessels also recorded double-figure kills for the Bulldogs with 10 on 19 swings (10-2-19, .421). Senior Cat Dailey had nine kills and 13 digs, and senior captain Julia Mailander totaled 10 digs. Freshman Kerry Clavadetscher and junior Kate Parker split the setting duties, registering 24 and 20 assists, respectively.

Big Green took an early 4-3 lead to open the match and kept the Bulldogs at an arm’s length up to a score of 12-10, when Yale notched three straight point to earn its first lead at 13-12. The Bulldogs put together another three-point spurt shortly after to grab a 17-14 edge and force Dartmouth to burn its first timeout. Yale maintained its momentum out of the stoppage and coasted from that point forward to a 25-20 set one victory.

Dartmouth was once again the aggressor in the opening stages of set two, winning six of the first eight points in the frame before Coach Appleman to her first timeout. Big Green continued to roll after the timeout, and the Bulldogs were soon calling for another stoppage, now trailing 18-9. Yale could do nothing to derail Dartmouth, as well as the raucous Senior Day crowd at Leede Arena, as the home team led by as many as 13 points en route to tying up the match, 1-1, with a 25-13 win.

Big Green stormed out of the gates in the pivotal third set, taking a quick 6-1 lead. This time the Bulldogs had an answer for Dartmouth, running off five straight points to knot the score at 6-6. The stalemate held up to a score of 12-12, when the Bulldogs finally put consecutive points together to take a 14-12 lead and force a Big Green timeout. Dartmouth would quickly erase that deficit with two straight points of its own, and eventually reclaimed the lead, 20-19, at which point Yale burned its first timeout. Big Green would open up a three-point lead at 22-19 before Yale stormed back to knot the score at 23-23. Dartmouth responded with the next two points, however, to take set three, 25-23, and grab a 2-1 edge in the match.

With victory one set away, Dartmouth came out firing en route to a 9-3 lead in set four. Yale would immediately cut the lead in half at 9-6, but could not break through as the Bulldogs found themselves calling a timeout, trailing 16-12. Yale would take four straight points out of the stoppage to knot the score at 16-16, and the deadlock held to an 18-18 mark. Dartmouth would claim three of the ensuing four rallies, to take a 21-19 edge and force another Yale timeout. The home team maintained its momentum out of the stoppage and closed out the match with a 25-20 win.

Madeline Baird had a match-best 19 kills to pace the Big Green offense. She also led Dartmouth with 23 digs, while Alissa Santa Maria doled out a match-high 48 assists.

The Bulldogs are back in action next weekend for the final home matches of 2009. Yale hosts Columbia on Friday afternoon and Cornell on Saturday. Both matches are slated for a 4 p.m. first serve. The contests, which will be featured on Yale All-Access, will be the final home contests in the careers of seniors Alexis Crusey, Cat Dailey, Laurel Johnson, Julia Mailander and Lydia Mailander.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity