Steinberg's Swing Sizzles, Leads Yale Over Columbia

Brittani Steinberg. (photo by Sam Rubin 95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Brittani Steinberg. (photo by Sam Rubin 95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Yale Freshman Leads the Way With 15 Kills

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The Bulldogs entered play Friday night in first place, and they played like it.  

After a 4-1 road trip through the Ivy League, the Bulldogs returned to the Lee Amphitheater and extended its conference home win streak to 31 matches with a 3-0 win over Columbia.

The scores of the match were 25-19, 25-11 and 25-20.  

Brittani Steinberg ignited the Yale offense with a match-best 15 kills and an electric display, producing nine points in her first 11 swings.  Steinberg hit a season-high .542 and added two digs with a block assist.

The Bulldogs improved to 16-4 overall, 10-1 in the Ivy League and maintained their two-match lead in the Ivy League standings with three matches left on the conference schedule.  

Steinberg combined with Kelly Johnson to set the tone tonight.

In the first set, Steinberg hit .857 with six kills on seven swings with no errors and paced the Bulldogs to a 9-2 run to open up a 21-14 lead.  Johnson added six digs, five kills and hit .444 in the set.  

Kendall Polan, who was honored before the match for surpassing the 3,000-assist mark in her career, dished out 40 assists, including a cross-court pass to Steinberg who delivered a kill to give Yale a 17-13 lead and force a Columbia timeout.

Mollie Rogers kept the rally going with an ace, and Steinberg followed with a nifty tip that led to a point.  Steinberg readjusted in midair for the kill.  Rogers finished with seven kills and a team-best 12 digs. 

After a Columbia error, Steinberg added another kill on the next point with a give-and-go exchange with Polan to give Yale a seven-point edge. 

The second set provided more Steinberg and Johnson.  A long pass from Johnson to Steinberg led to a point and an 11-6 advantage for Yale. 

Maddie Rudnick kept the next point alive with a nice dig that eventually to Johnson slamming a ball down the right sideline.  Several points later, Johnson took an freeball and placed it in the back left corner of the Columbia court to push Yale's lead to 16-9 and prompt timeout from the Lions.  

Johnson snapped an 8-8 tie in the third and began quick 5-0 run, which included two kills from Maya Midzik, who finished with nine for the match.

Yale returns to action tomorrow at 5 p.m. to host Cornell.  Before the match, Yale's three seniors - McHaney Carter, Polan and Erica Reetz will be honored.  

Report filed by Ernie Bertothy, Yale Sports Publicity