September 4, 2010

Host Bulldogs Finish 3-0 at Yale Invitational, Hearst Named MVP

The box score may say the Bulldogs earned a quick, early-season, three-game sweep of the Rhode Island Rams in the final game of the 2010 Yale Invitational, but it sure had the feel of a postseason, five-set thriller. After battling back from eight down to take the first set 29-27, Yale gutted out a tough back-and-forth win in the second set, and then jumped out to an early lead in the third that would carry them to their third win of the season and second of the day.

Junior Bridget Hearst, named the tournament's MVP for her dominating performances in all three games this weekend, led the way for the Bulldogs in the first set, leading Yale back from an 11-3 deficit. Captain Kelly Ozurovich kept her team in it as Rhode Island rallied, beating back the Rams' charge with nine digs. Junior Katie Cordell also contributed some big plays late in the frame to spark Yale to the 29-27 set win.

Cordell's clutch play continued in the second set, as her strong serving, two kills, and four big digs, combined with Hearst's five kills and Ozurovich's five digs, prevented Rhode Island from mounting any significant rally. Freshman McHaney Carter also added three clutch kills in the second, setting up Cordell's emphatic set-finishing kill to put the Bulldogs up two sets to none with the 28-26 victory.

Hearst and sophomore Haley Wessels (eight kills) took charge in the third, and Cordell continued to back them up with solid play. Carter added four more kills for a total of nine in the game, and classmate Erica Reetz also gave Bulldog fans a taste of things to come with strong serving, five kills, and a stellar 13 kills. Fellow freshman Kendall Polan also established herself as a major contributor in the middle, with a spectacular 47 assists, good for all-tournament honors.

"For a young team, I thought we showed great poise," Coach Erin Appleman said. "We got better and better as the tournament went along, which is exactly what you want to see. But along with that, Kelly had an unbelievable tournament in my opinion, and Bridget was just incredible."

Joining Hearst on the all tournament team for the Bulldogs was setter Kendall Polan, who had two 40-plus assists games in the tournament. The rest of the all-tournament team was as follows:

Stony Brook:
Alicia Nelson
Ashley Headen

Rhode Island:
Lauren McIntosh
Annie Nelson

Quinnipiac:
Logan Riker

Yale:
Kendall Polan

MVP:
Bridget Hearst

The Bulldogs will look to improve on their 3-0 record when they face off against New Jersey Institute of Technology on September 10th at the Long Island Tournament.

Report filed by Chelsea Janes '12, Yale Sports Publicity.