Volleyball Seniors Honored at Year-End Banquet

The 2009 Yale Volleyball team (photo courtesy of Alexis Crusey '10)
The 2009 Yale Volleyball team (photo courtesy of Alexis Crusey '10)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Head Coach Erin Appleman and the Yale volleyball team hosted their year-end banquet on Saturday evening, celebrating a program-best 21-4 record from the 2009 season as well as the careers of an accomplished five-member senior class. The banquet, held in the varsity room of the Ray Tompkins House, also recognized senior Cat Dailey as the Bulldogs’ Most Valuable Player and freshman Kerry Clavadetscher as Most Improved Player, while senior Alexis Crusey claimed the Coaches’ Award.

The Class of 2010, which is comprised of Crusey, Dailey, Laurel Johnson, Lydia Mailander and team captain Julia Mailander, posted the best four-year record in the history of Yale Volleyball at 74-27 and the best four-year Ivy League record at 45-11. The quintet was also a part of the 2008 squad that won the Ivy League Championship and defeated Ohio in an NCAA Championship First Round match. Each senior was given the opportunity to address their teammates and coaches.

“I was personally touched by the way that this class saw Yale volleyball as a vital part of their college careers,” said Appleman. “On and off the court, this group of seniors never settled for less than their absolute best.”

Dailey’s MVP award, which was voted upon by her teammates, marks her second in two seasons at Yale. The unanimous 2008 Ivy League Player of the Year, Dailey was one of three unanimous selections to the All-Ivy First Team in 2009 as well as an AVCA All-Northeast Region Honorable Mention. She was the only player in the Ancient Eight to rank in the top 10 in kills, hitting percentage and digs, swinging at a .266 clip with 3.55 digs and a league-best 4.04 kills per set. The Newport Beach, Calif. native also led the Ivy League in aces with 0.37 per frame. A history major, Dailey earned Academic All-Ivy and ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District First Team honors in addition to her athletic achievements. She is the fifth two-time recipient of the MVP award, which she shared in 2008 with former captain Ally Mendenhall ’09.

For the third time in four seasons, a freshman earns the Most Improved Player award, with Clavadetscher, an All-Ivy Honorable Mention, claiming the 2009 distinction. The award, established in 1994, is presented annually to the player who has shown the most improvement over the course of the season or from one season to the next. Clavadetscher, the Bulldogs’ first freshman All-Ivy honoree since Kelly Ozurovich in 2007, was the second-most prolific setter in the Ancient Eight with 11.38 assists per frame. She also averaged 0.51 kills and 1.81 digs per set and was a force at the net as well with 0.55 blocks per set.

The Coaches’ Award, presented to the player who best demonstrates the intangibles both on and off of the court that help the team succeed, goes to Crusey on the heels of one of the most accomplished careers in the history of Yale volleyball. Her 2009 First Team All-Ivy selection made her the first Bulldog, and just the fifth player ever in 31 years of Ivy League volleyball, to earn four career First Team distinctions. The senior, who was also the 2006 Ivy League Rookie of the Year, closed out her career with 1,286 kills, the third-most in Yale history and the most ever by a Bulldog in the rally scoring era (2001-present). She also ranks seventh all-time in digs with 1,219.

Kelly Ozurovich will captain a 2010 squad that returns six letterwinners from last season, including fellow All-Ivy honorees Clavadetscher and Bridget Hearst. Yale will also welcome four highly-touted recruits into the mix, including the program’s first-ever Under Armor High School All-America recruit.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity