Bulldogs Make Statement, Sweep Penn and Take Over First

Bridget Hearst. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Bridget Hearst. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Hearst Slams Match-High 18 Kills as Bulldogs Move into First

In a matter of 48 hours, the top of the Ivy League standings has a new look. 

Bridget Hearst put on a hitting display to help Yale defeat Penn, 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-22), at the John J. Lee Amphitheater on Saturday night.  With the win, Yale completed a weekend sweep of the conference leaders, moved into first place in the Ivy League and extended its win streak to six matches.  The Bulldogs improved to 14-7 overall and became the first team in the Ivy League to have eight wins with only two losses.

Princeton, who defeated Brown on Saturday afternoon, moved into a second-place tie with Penn.  Both teams are now 7-2 overall in Ivy play.

Hearst finished with 18 kills and hit .517 for the match.  Kendall Polan added 30 assists, 15 digs and five kills, and was one of four Bulldogs to post at least 12 digs for a team total of 66 on Saturday. 

Erica Reetz had eight kills and 13 digs for Yale, which has won 13 straight matches on its home court. 

"We played marvelous, team volleyball tonight," Yale head coach Erin Appleman said.  "We played loose, and we played to win."

One night after sweeping Princeton in New Haven, the Bulldogs continued their home dominance.  Yale wasted no time and took control of the match in the first set.

Tied at 13 in the opening set, Yale tallied six of the next seven points thanks in part to kills by Reetz, McHaney Carter and Hearst.  Later in the set with Yale ahead 21-17, Hearst pounded back-to-back kills followed by a Penn error to push the Yale advantage to seven points.

"Bridget had a phenomenal match tonight," Appleman said of the junior opposite hitter.  After Saturday's performance, Hearst ranks fourth in the Ivy League with 3.51 kills per set and 10th with a .278 hitting percentage.

Haley Wessels closed out the first set with a kill set up by Polan. 

 The Bulldogs kept up their intensity in the second set.  Up 12-9, Yale used a quick-hitting run thanks to two Penn errors and strong serve by Polan.  Her signature leaping serve produced a low line drive that made Penn's Dani Shepherd dive to keep the ball in play. 

Shepherd's dig went right to Hearst, who slammed the ball into the Quakers' court to give Yale a 15-9 lead and force a Penn timeout.  Moments later, the Bulldogs would increase their lead.

After Penn's Amanda Pacheco posted one of her seven kills for the set to cut the Bulldogs' lead to 16-11, Katie Cordell (6 kills, 12 digs) and Hearst answered for Yale.  Cordell hammered an attack into the Quaker court, Penn followed with an error on the next point and Hearst extended Yale's edge to 19-11 with a thunderous kill that painted the right sideline.  Reetz would eventually close out the set with a service ace.

Penn (11-10, 7-2 Ivy) would not go away easily.  In the third set, Yale turned a 10-all tie into a five-point lead thanks to block assists from Wessels and Hearst and a Penn error to cap the run. 

Penn crept back into the set with consecutive points to cut the deficit to 22-19 with a kill from Julia Swanson and a Yale error.  Following a Yale timeout, Carter responded with a kill.

Swanson, one of the top kill producers in the conference, used a strong attack to begin one more spurt for the Quakers.  Her teammate Lauren Martin followed with a kill to cut Penn's deficit to 23-21. 

Yale would not be denied.  Hearst made one more statement with her match-best 18th kill to make it 24-21.  After a kill by Penn's Susan Stuecheli, Polan ended the match for Yale.

 "Right now I couldn't be prouder of our team," Appleman said.

Yale concludes its regular season home schedule with matches against Dartmouth and Harvard next weekend.   The Bulldogs welcome the Big Green on Friday, and host the Crimson on Saturday.

Report by Ernie Bertothy, Yale Sports Publicity