Bulldogs Power Past American, 3-1

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senior Alexis Crusey crushed a match-best 12 kills and junior Kate Parker distributed 26 assists to lead the Yale volleyball to a four-set victory against the defending Patriot League Champions, American University. The Bulldogs got kills from eight different players in the victory, including eight kills on 13 errorless swings (.615) by sophomore Taylor Cramm and nine kills on 17 swings (.412) by freshman Haley Wessels.

Yale Head Coach Erin Appleman saw the match as a testament to her team’s depth. “Kate Parker came in and ran a very good offense, and Cramm provided tremendous energy off the bench,” said the seven-year head coaching veteran.

With the win, the Bulldogs improved to 4-0 in 2009. American fell to 1-6 in defeat.

Yale overcame a difficult first set to hit .237 (47-19-118) for the match. The Bulldogs also dropped in three aces and 12 total blocks. American hit .036 (37-32-136) with eight aces and eight blocks.

The Bulldogs and Eagles split the first eight points of the match, at which point American rattled off three straight winners to grab a 7-4 lead. Over the next stretch of action, Yale would battle to tie the score on three occasions, but could not overtake the Eagles. The lead grew back to three points for the home team at 15-12, forcing Appleman to call her first timeout. After the stoppage, The Bulldogs went on a run to knot the score three more times before reclaiming the lead at 19-18 on a big block by Wessels and Clavadetscher. After an American timeout, the back-and-forth battle continued to produce tie scores at 20-20 and 21-21 before the Eagles notched two straight points to gain a 23-21 edge and force another Yale timeout. The home team was unfazed by the stoppage in play and tallied the next two points to put set one away with a 25-21 victory.

The Bulldogs hit .132 (12-7-38) in the set, while American swung at a .125 (12-7-40) clip. The Bulldogs outblocked their opponents 4-2, and the Eagles had the edge in service aces, 3-0.

The Bulldogs found themselves playing catch-up once again in the early stages of set two. After holding an early 3-2 edge, Yale would fall behind at 5-4 and, despite deadlocking the score on seven occasions in the ensuing action, would not take another lead until 17-16. After two more ties at 17-17 and 19-19, the momentum began to swing Yale’s way after winning a long rally to take a 20-19 lead. Senior captain Julia Mailander then slammed down a freeball to give the Bulldogs a two point advantage at 21-19 a force American Head Coach Barry Goldberg to call a timeout. Three straight Yale points after the stoppage ran the score to set point at 24-19, and a Mailander kill immediately wrapped up the set with Yale claiming a 25-19 win.

“Julia was the spark that really got us going in the right direction,” said Appleman of her captain. Mailander finished with five kills, three digs, three aces and a block.

Yale hit at a .286 (12-4-28) percentage in set three, while American managed just a .083 (11-8-36) mark. The Bulldogs had the edge in blocks, 2-1, and the Eagles notched the only ace.

Set three saw one team establish an advantage for the first time as the Bulldogs took an early 5-2 lead and never looked back. On the back of a set-high four kills from sophomore Taylor Cramm, Yale led by as many as nine points in the frame. A block by Crusey, her third solo stuff of the match, ended the set with Yale taking a 25-16 decision.

The Bulldogs hit .250 (13-6-28) in the set while American landed in the negative at -.033 (6-7-30). The Eagles won the blocking battle, 4-3, and notched two service aces compared to Yale’s one.

The fourth set initially saw a return to a back-and-forth battle, as the squads split the first 14 points before either would take an advantage of larger the two points. The benefactor of the first run was American, which took a 10-7 edge. That lead was short-lived, however, as the Bulldogs immediately rattled off four of the next five points to knot the score at 11-11 and force an American timeout. Yale continued its run after the stoppage with four straight points that caused Goldberg to immediately use his second timeout. Overall, the Bulldogs manufactured a 13-0 run to take a 21-11 lead before the Eagles would get on the board again. The American offense began to find its swing in the late stages of the set, but the Bulldogs continued their torrid pace to take the set and match with a 25-15 win.

Yale committed only two attack errors in the final set en route to hitting at a .333 (10-2-24) clip, while American hit .000 (9-9-32). The Bulldogs outblocked their opponents 3-1, and each team landed two service aces.

The Bulldogs will wrap up the American Volleyball Classic tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. against Virginia Tech. The Hokies dispatched the New Jersey Institute of Technology is straight sets to improve to 7-0 in 2009.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity

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