NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Fresh off of a clean
sweep at the season-opening Yale Invitational, the Yale volleyball
team hits the road for the first time in 2009 for a pair of matches
at the American Volleyball Classic in Washington, D.C. The Bulldogs
will face the host Eagles of American University on Friday night at
7 p.m. before challenging unbeaten Virginia Tech on Saturday
morning at 11 a.m. Yale enters the weekend at 3-0.
Yale went 8-4 in road matches in 2008, as well as 4-1 on neutral courts. In the Ivy League, the Bulldogs are currently riding an eight-match road winning streak which dates back to the final contest of the 2007 campaign. The Bulldogs will play their next five matches away from the John J. Lee Amphitheater before returning to the Elm City for the Yale Classic on Sept. 25.
Last Time Out
Yale swept Georgetown, Fairfield and Colorado this past weekend to win the 2009 Yale Invitational. Senior Cat Dailey was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament and was joined on the All-Tournament Team by senior Alexis Crusey and freshman Haley Wessels.
Scouting the Eagles (Sept. 11 – 7 p.m.)
The preseason favorite to win the Patriot League for the ninth consecutive season, American University enters its home tournament with a record of 1-5. Most recently, the Eagles won at Portland in five sets to tally their first win of 2009. American boasts four players averaging 1.50 kills or more, led by 3.39 finishers per set from junior Angelina Waterman. All four of those players are hitting at a clip of .271 or worse. Krysta Cicala, the Eagles’ setter, has distributed 9.67 assists per set. The American defense has been solid this season, as six players have contributed 1.30 digs per set or better, including 3.18 per set from Rebecca Heath and 2.35 from Waterman.
Bulldogs vs. Eagles
The Eagles have won both meetings between the two programs, a 2002 home sweep and a 1994 straight-set victory on a neutral court (at William & Mary). Both meetings predate Erin Appleman’s tenure as Yale Head Coach.
Against Common Opponents
The Eagles lost a four-set home match to Georgetown, the team that the Bulldogs swept in New Haven to open the 2009 campaign last weekend.
Scouting the Hokies (Sept. 12 – 11 a.m.)
Selected to finish sixth (of 12) in the Atlantic Coast Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll, the Virginia Tech Hokies will head to Washington, D.C. at 6-0 in the 2009 season. The Hokies, who have not yet played a match away from their home court, most recently defeated Arkansas to win the Virginia Tech Invitational. Virginia Tech will play the New Jersey Institute of Technology on Friday night before meeting the Bulldogs on Saturday morning. Senior Taylor Parrish leads the Hokies with 3.58 kills per set, while junior Felicia Willoughby, a preseason All-ACC honoree, heads the middle of the squad’s rotation with 2.50 kills and 1.40 blocks per set. Erin Leaser has doled out 11.2 assists per set from the setter position.
Bulldogs vs. Hokies
The Bulldogs won their lone encounter against Virginia Tech, a straight-set (2-0) victory on Sept. 22, 1979. That match, coincidentally, also took place on a neutral court in the nation’s capital as a part of the George Washington University Invitational.
Senior outside hitter Cat Dailey, the reigning Ivy League Player of the Week, picked up where she left off in 2008 by scorching the competition at the Bulldogs’ season-opening Yale Invitational. The Newport Beach, Calif. native hit at a sizzling .487 clip, notching 39 kills on 78 attempts with just one error en route to being named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Dailey, who averaged 4.88 kills per set, rounded out her weekend with a 3.38 digs per set average, four service aces, three blocks and three assists. Her final contest of the weekend was her best as Dailey hit a remarkable .607, piling up a match-high 17 kills on 28 errorless swings in a convincing Yale sweep of Colorado. She also picked up four service aces and nine digs to fall just shy of her second double-double of the weekend. In addition to her MVP nod, Dailey was named Ivy League Player of the Week and a CVU.com Top Performer.
On Crusey Control
One of the most dominant players in the Ivy League for the past three seasons, outside hitter Alexis Crusey started her senior campaign on the right track, grabbing All-Tournament Team honors at the Yale Invitational. Crusey, a three-time first team All-Ivy honoree, averaged 3.62 kills and 3.00 digs per set in eight sets of work this past weekend. The unanimous 2006 Ivy League Rookie of the Year currently ranks eighth in Yale history with 1,062 kills and needs 39 digs to eclipse 1,000 for her career.
Welcome to the Machine
Freshman Haley Wessels proved to be a force at the net in her collegiate debut this weekend. Wessel earned All-Tournament Team honors at the Yale Invitational after averaging 1.44 kills and amassing eight blocks, including five solo stuffs, as Yale swept a trio of opponents to win the tournament crown. The Dallas, Texas native also earned a slot on the Ivy League Weekly Honor Roll.
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 the squad’s 3-0 start. Yale has outblocked its opponents 20-6.5, led by eight blocks from freshman Haley Wessels and seven courtesy of sophomore Taylor Cramm. Additionally, Georgetown, Fairfield and Colorado combined to hit just .173 (108-52-324) in nine sets against Yale. The Bulldogs have also allowed just four service aces to land on their side of the net.
All Set, All Set
The Bulldogs utilized a pair of setters at this past weekend’s Yale Invitational, junior Kate Parker and freshman Kerry Clavadetscher. Parker, who made her first career start against Georgetown on Friday, distributed 36 assists (9.00 per set) in four sets of work and also tallied six kills on 10 swings. Clavadetscher then took the reins and piled up 8.17 assists per set over the final six sets of the tournament. The freshman also averaged 2.33 digs per set in her first weekend of collegiate action.
High School Heroines
PrepVolleyball.com, 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.
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.
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.
Beginning the Defense
The defending Ivy League Champion Bulldogs will kick off the 2009 Ancient Eight schedule on Friday, Oct. 2 against Brown. Action from the John J. Lee Amphitheater begins at 7 p.m.
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.
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 Invitational… 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.
Beach Blanket Broadcast
The Bulldogs relocated their morning practice on Friday, Aug. 28 from the friendly 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.
‘Til the Next Episode
After this weekend’s action, Yale heads to New Jersey for a trio of matches at the Seton Hall Invitational. The Bulldogs challenge Hofstra on Friday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. and square off with the New Jersey Institute of Technology (1 p.m.) and the host Pirates (7 p.m.) on Saturday, Sept. 19. The next home contest for the defending Ivy League Champions will be on Friday, Sept. 25 against Central Connecticut State as a part of the Yale Classic.