Bulldogs Hammer Colorado to Claim Yale Invitational Championship

Cat Dailey. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Cat Dailey. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Senior Cat Dailey capped an outstanding weekend with an errorless 17-kill performance for the Yale volleyball team in a sweep of visiting Colorado in the 2009 Yale Invitational Championship Game. Dailey, who hit .487 with 39 kills and just one error at the weekend event, was selected as the Yale Invitational Most Valuable Player. The Bulldogs took the match in straight sets: 25-22, 25-11 and 25-9.

With the win, the Bulldogs stay perfect at 3-0 on the season. Colorado, which had its two-match winning streak snapped in defeat, drops to 3-3. The match was Yale’s first-ever meeting with a team from the Big 12 Conference (or the former Big Eight).

“Cat Dailey was absolutely stellar this weekend,” said Yale Head Coach Erin Appleman. “To hit over .600 for a match with almost 30 attempts is absolutely dominant.”

Dailey hit at a scorching .607 clip in the match, recording a match-best 17 kills with no errors on 28 swings. She also registered nine digs and four services ace in the contest. Senior Alexis Crusey added nine kills, hitting .308, with a team-high 10 digs for Yale. The three-time All-Ivy first teamer averaged 3.62 kills per set for the weekend to land a spot on the All-Tournament Team.

Haley Wessels grabbed the third Yale laurel at the event, as she was selected to the All-Tournament squad after notching 13 kills and eight blocks, including five solo stuffs, in her first weekend of collegiate action.

Against the Buffaloes, Wessels tallied five kills and two solo blocks, while sophomores Bridget Hearst and Taylor Cramm each added three finishers. Freshman Kerry Clavadetscher rounded out the Yale attack with a pair of kills in addition to her seven digs and match-best 27 assists from the setter position. Junior libero Kelly Ozurovich contributed seven digs of her own and sophomore Katie Cordell added four digs and four service aces.

As a team, the Bulldogs committed just five attack errors and hit .362 (39-5-94) as compared to a .122 clip (29-18-90) for the Buffaloes. Yale also out-blocked its opponents, 6-1, and racked up 12 service aces while Colorado failed to record any.

“This was a great all-around effort. We played hard and executed very well against a tough Colorado team,” said Appleman.

The first set was the most competitive of the three, as Yale and Colorado split the first 20 points to a 10-10 tie. At that point, Cordell reeled off three consecutive service aces in a stretch that saw the Bulldogs jump out to a 15-10 lead. The Buffaloes then nabbed three of the next four points and, after a Cramm kill ended that rally, put together a 5-1 run to knot the score at 18-18. Yale responded immediately with the next three points, capped by a Hearst ace and never looked back en route to a 25-22 win in set one.

The Buffaloes outhit Yale in the first frame by a slim .314 (15-4-35) to .302 (16-3-43) advantage. The Bulldogs made up that difference by outblocking their opponents, 2-1, and landing four service aces.

Any of the remaining rust that the Bulldogs were still sporting in the first set was undeniably shaken off early in the second frame. A 6-6 tie marked the last time that Yale and Colorado would be deadlocked, as an 11-2 run promptly put the match out of reach for the Buffaloes at 17-8. A 5-0 spurt, headed by Dailey’s tough serves and highlighted by a pair of Crusey kills, ended the match with Yale winning handily, 25-11.

The Bulldogs hit a solid .323 (12-2-31) in the second set, while Colorado slipped into the negative at -.032 (7-8-31). Yale recorded all three blocks that occurred in the frame and dropped in four more service aces.

Set three was more of the same from the Bulldogs, as a 12-1 run to open the set left Colorado reeling. The Buffaloes failed to score a point on any of their 10 service attempts, with four service errors mixed in as well. An ace by Hearst, the 12th by Yale in the match, slammed the door on a convincing 25-9 set-three victory.

Yale hit an errorless .550 (11-0-20) in the set, while Colorado registered a .042 mark (7-6-24). The Bulldogs again notched four aces to none by the visitors and out-blocked the Buffaloes, 1-0.

Becah Fogle led the Colorado attack with 13 kills and also headed up the defensive effort with a match-best 12 digs. Kerra Schroeder added seven kills and eight digs for the Buffaloes, and Kaitlyn Burkett distributed 24 assists.

Yale’s trio of Dailey, Crusey and Wessels were joined on the All-Tournament Team by Fogle, Schroeder, Fairfield’s Brianna Dixion and Georgetown’s Sara Manley.

The Bulldogs are back in action next weekend at the American Volleyball Classic in Washington, D.C. Yale challenges the host American University Eagles at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 11 and closes out the weekend against Virginia Tech at 11 a.m. on Sept. 12.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity