November 3, 2012

Bulldogs Sweep Princeton, Win Third Straight Ivy Title

Yale Wins Fourth Conference Title in Five Years

PRINCETON, N.J. -- The Bulldogs are Ivy League champs.  Again.  

The Yale women's volleyball team won its fourth Ivy League title in the last five years after a 3-0 victory at Princeton on Saturday afternoon.   The scores of the match were 25-20, 25-16 and 28-26.

With the win, the Bulldogs extended its win streak to 13, improved to 12-0 in conference play, finished their Ivy League road schedule undefeated.  The Bulldogs now stand at 16-5 overall, while Princeton fell to 12-10 overall and 9-3 in the conference. 

Mollie Rogers smashed a match-high 15 kills for the Bulldogs, who will now make its fourth appearance in the NCAA tournament.  

"I couldn't be more proud of this team," Yale head coach Erin Appleman said.  "They've worked hard all season and earned this championship. They are a great group of athletes to work with and they deserve this title."

The Bulldogs controlled the match throughout and used a team hallmark -- a come back victory -- to take the third set.

Yale trailed 10-3 to start the third, then mounted a rally.  It started with a kill from team captain Haley Wessels, who delivered one of her 11 kills.

"This team has level of confidence in ourselves and each other I have never seen before," said Wessels. "Our chemistry keeps us together in the tough times, and tonight we played together to win for each other."

Erica Reetz (6 kills and 5 digs) followed with a kill, and after an attack error, delivered another to keep the momentum going and make it 10-7 and force Princeton timeout. 

With Yale's deficit still at three, Jesse Ebner contributed in almost every way possible.  It started with a kill from Ebner, who then served up an ace on the next point.  

On the next point, Ebner dove and kept a rally alive with a one-handed dig that eventually led to a kill by Rogers to tie the set at 16.  From there, the set featured nine more ties. 

Reetz used a nifty tip off a Kelly Johnson set to help Yale breakthrough for the final time.     A Princeton attack error on the next point ended the match.

Johnson, the reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Week, finished  with 18 assists, 14 digs and seven kills.  

Yale went on a 9-3 run midway through the second to take a 16-11 lead. With the score 9-8 Yale, Maddie Rudnick's dig went to Kendall Polan, who set up Rogers to give Yale a two-point lead.  Johnson used a two-handed stuff at the net to give Yale the next point and seized control of the set.

The Bulldogs asserted themselves in the first set.  Rogers tied the set at 16 with a kill from the back row and Reetz added a two-handed kill to give the Bulldogs the lead. 

Polan and Wessels provided block assists on the next point to push Yale's advantage to two.  On the next point, Wessels added a solo block.

Wessels contributed five total blocks tonight and led the Bulldogs to its third straight title.

"Winning the Ivy League gets better and more fun each year and I am so proud to be a part of Yale Volleyball," Wessels said.

The Bulldogs close out the regular season next weekend with home matches against Harvard and Dartmouth.  Yale hosts Harvard on Friday at 7 p.m., where the team will be honored following the match with the Ivy League championship trophy.

Report filed by Ernie Bertothy, Yale Sports Publicity