Bulldogs Look to Keep Pace In Ivy League and Finish Unbeaten at Home
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The Bulldogs aim to maintain their hold on first place in the Ivy League and complete an undefeated season at home this weekend with matches against Dartmouth and Harvard. Yale, winners of six in a row overall and all nine matches played at the John J. Lee Amphitheater this season, play the Big Green on Friday night at 7 and host the Crimson on Saturday at 6 p.m. Saturday also marks the final regular season home match for Kelly Ozurovich, Yale's senior team captain and all-time digs leader.
Yale (14-7, 8-2 Ivy) moved third place to first last weekend with 3-0 wins over both Princeton and Penn, who each began last week as the league's top two teams. The Quakers and Tigers begin this weekend 7-2 in Ivy League play.
Junior Bridget Hearst slammed 18 kills and hit .517 for the match to help the Bulldogs defeat the Quakers last Saturday. Hearst enters this week ranked fourth in the conference in kills per set and 10th in hitting percentage.
Freshman Kendall Polan continued her impressive rookie campaign with 30 assists, 15 digs and five kills against Penn, and was one of four Bulldogs to post at least 12 digs.
One night earlier, Yale overcame a 23-20 deficit in game one, battled back from a 10-4 hole in the second and went on to sweep Princeton. Polan notched a near triple-double lift the Bulldogs. The freshman tallied 20 assists, 15 digs and nine kills against the Tigers.
Following her efforts last weekend, Polan earned her fourth Ivy League Rookie of the Week honor last Tuesday. Polan trails only Megan Tryon of Penn and Alexandra Rieckhoff of Brown in assists per set in the Ivy League.
Through Oct. 31, Ozurovich ranks second in the conference and 19th in all of Division I in digs per set (5.36). As a team, the Bulldogs lead the nation in digs per set (18.84). Yale also leads the Ivy League in hitting percentage, kills and assists.
The Big Green (13-8, 4-6 Ivy) split a pair of league matches last weekend. Dartmouth lost to Columbia, but topped Cornell in five sets.
Madeline Baird won the Ivy League Player of the Week award for the second time this season following her performances last weekend. Baird had 14 kills, 14 digs and three block assists against the Lions, and posted 20 kills and 21 digs in the win over the Big Red.
The Crimson start play this weekend with a 7-15 overall mark and a 4-6 conference record. Harvard played two five-set matches on the road last weekend in a win over Cornell and loss to Columbia.
Harvard is paced by Taylor Docter, who is tied for the league lead in service aces per set, as well as Teresa Skelly, who ranks fourth in blocks and sixth in hitting percentage among Ivy Leaguers.
Earlier this season, the Bulldogs defeated Dartmouth 3-2 in Hanover, N.H., on Oct. 23 and one night earlier held off Harvard, 3-1, in Cambridge.