Trio of Matches Awaits Bulldogs at Seton Hall Tournament

Kate Parker. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Complete Match Notes as PDF

NEW HAVEN, Conn. –
After suffering its first setback of the 2009 season at the hands of Virginia Tech on Saturday at the American Volleyball Classic, the Yale volleyball team looks to get back on the winning track at this weekend’s Seton Hall Tournament. In addition to the host Pirates, the Bulldogs will challenge Hofstra and the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Yale enters the weekend at 4-1.

Road Warriors
The Bulldogs defeated American University on Friday in their only true road match of 2009. Yale’s loss to Virginia Tech in the American Volleyball Classic dropped the Bulldogs to 0-1 on neutral courts this season, snapping a four-match winning streak in such situations dating back to the 2008 campaign. Yale went 4-1 at neutral sites in 2008, as well as 8-4 in road matches.

Last Time Out
The Bulldogs downed the host Eagles in four sets and were swept by Virginia Tech at the American Volleyball Classic in Washington, D.C. last weekend. The Hokies, who represent Yale’s only loss thus far in 2009, won the weekend invitational and remain unbeaten at 9-0 entering this weekend. Senior Alexis Crusey earned All-Tournament Team honors for Yale and a slot on the Ivy League Weekly Honor Roll.

Scouting the Pride (Sept. 18 – 5 p.m.)
The Hofstra Pride, entering the weekend at 2-9, were selected to finish fifth (out of 10) in the Colonial Athletic Association Preseason Coaches’ Poll. Senior Monica Knight has carried the load on offense, as she has accounted for nearly 34% of Hofstra’s total attacks (479-1411) en route to posting a team-best 3.77 kills per set. Knight is also third on the team with 2.95 digs per set, while Kylee Maneja leads the way in that category with 3.74 digs per set. Setter Chrissey Cruz has distributed 8.28 assists per frame.

Bulldogs vs. Pride
Yale is 2-5 all-time against Hofstra, though Head Coach Erin Appleman is 1-0 against the Pride. The Bulldogs swept Hofstra in the 2008 Yale Invitational, snapping the Pride’s two-match winning streak in the series.

Scouting the Highlanders (Sept. 19 – 1 p.m.)
Selected by the coaches to finish sixth (of seven) in the inaugural season of Great West Conference volleyball, the New Jersey Institute of Technology Highlanders started their season at 8-0 and currently hold a record of 9-2. Renata Pandolfo leads a balanced Highlanders’ attack with 3.37 kills per set, while Kristy Haeckel averages 2.20 kills per frame with a team-best hitting percentage of .310. Captain Sabrina Baby currently leads the nation with 6.74 digs per set. The offense is run through Erica Schultz, who has amassed 9.62 assists per set in 34 sets of work.

Bulldogs vs. Highlanders
This will be the first-ever meeting between Yale and Division I newcomer NJIT.

Against Common Opponents
The Highlanders fell to both American (1-3) and Virginia Tech (0-3) at last weekend’s American Volleyball Classic.

Scouting the Pirates (Sept. 19 – 6:30 p.m.)
Selected to finish 12th (of 15) in the Big East Preseason Coaches’ Poll, Seton Hall split four matches at Fordham’s Rose Hill Classic this past weekend to move to 4-8 on the season. Senior Allie Matters, who became the Pirates career digs leader on Friday night. has tallied double-figure digs in 49 consecutive matches, the second-longest streak in the country. Matters currently ranks second in the Big East with an average of 4.60 digs per set. Sarah Osmun leads the Pirates with 3.16 kills per set, while freshman setter Olivia Trudeau has run the offense to the tune of 8.93 assists per set.

Bulldogs vs. Pirates
Yale won the only meeting between the two programs, a 3-1 victory on Oct. 31, 1987 as a part of the Syracuse Invitational.

Getting Back on Track
Not including the season-ending defeat at Penn State in the NCAA Championship Second Round, the Bulldogs went 4-1 in matches following a loss in 2008. Yale’s only consecutive losses last season came last September at the Penn State Classic against the eventual-National Champion Lady Lions and Saint Louis, a team that finished 2008 ranked at No. 21 in the nation.

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 both the Yale Invitational and the American Volleyball Classic. Crusey, a three-time first team All-Ivy honoree, is averaging 3.07 kills and 3.07 digs per set through the first 15 sets of 2009. The unanimous 2006 Ivy League Rookie of the Year currently ranks eighth in Yale history with 1,079 kills and needs just 17 digs to eclipse 1,000 for her career.

Cat Power
Senior outside hitter Cat Dailey, the reigning Ivy League Player of the Year, 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 garnered national attention as a CVU.com Top Performer.

Welcome to the Machine
Freshman Haley Wessels has proved to be a force at the net in the early stages of her first collegiate season. Wessels is currently averaging 1.50 kills and a team-best 0.88 blocks per set as one of just two players to have appeared in all 16 sets. The Dallas, Texas native earned an All-Tournament Team nod and a slot on the Ivy League Weekly Honor Roll for her performance at the Yale Invitational on Sept. 4-5.

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 4-1 start. Yale has outblocked its opponents 38-19.5, led by 14 blocks from freshman Haley Wessels and 11 stuffs courtesy of senior Alexis Crusey. Additionally, the Bulldogs’ five opponents have hit just .154 (184-98-558) against Yale.

All Set, All Set
The Bulldogs have utilized a pair of setters in 2009: junior Kate Parker and freshman Kerry Clavadetscher. Parker, who made her first career start against Georgetown on Sept. 4, has distributed 73 assists (8.11 per set) in nine sets of work and also has tallied 10 kills on 16 swings. Clavadetscher has piled up 7.10 assists per set over the 10 sets through five Yale matches. The freshman has also averaged 2.10 digs and has had a hand in four Bulldog blocks.

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.

Trend Setters
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. In total, all but one of Yale’s six losses in 2008 came at the hands of teams that advanced to the NCAA Championship tournament.

2009 Schedule Notes
The 2009 schedule consists of 13 home matches and 12 road matches…Colorado and New Jersey Institute of Technology are both first-time opponents for Yale…Under Coach Appleman, 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 is the only repeat opponent from the 2008 non-conference schedule…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, the most Nutmeg State foes they have challenged since 2005.

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
Yale wraps up its 2009 non-conference slate next weekend as Central Connecticut State, Quinnipiac and Binghamton come to New Haven for the Yale Classic.

Information
Yale Volleyball
Hofstra Volleyball
New Jersey Institute of Technology Volleyball
Seton Hall Volleyball

Media Links
Live Stats (all matches)
Streaming Video (Yale vs. Seton Hall)

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity