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Yale Hosts Princeton for NCAA Bid on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Captain Kelsey Crawford (left) and Kelley Wirth.
Captain Kelsey Crawford (left) and Kelley Wirth.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The Bulldogs are aiming for the seventh NCAA appearance in program history when they host Princeton in a one-match playoff on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

Both teams finished the Ivy League regular season at 10-4 overall and split their two matches in 2017.  Yale earned the right to host the playoff because they won more sets (4-3) against Princeton.

The match can be viewed on the Ivy League Network.

Here are some notes leading up to Saturday's match:

  • Yale has won six Ivy League championships in the last eight years, and eight of the last 14.
  • This is the fourth Ivy playoff appearance for the Bulldogs since the current conference championship format started in 2001. Yale won the league's NCAA automatic in 2004 and 2014 in a playoff following the regular season, and lost in 2010.
  • The Bulldogs and Tigers each won on the other's home court this season.  
  • Junior Kate Swanson was named Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year, first-year Kathryn Attar was named Rookie of the Year Five and a total of five members of the 2017 Ivy League champion Bulldogs were named all-Ivy selections, the league office announced on Thursday.  Swanson and Attar were also named First Team All-Ivy, while sophomores Franny Arnaurou and Tristin Kott were named to the second team.  Junior Kelley Wirth was named an honorable mention.
  • The Bulldogs, who have won 57 of their last 60 Ivy League home matches dating back to 2009.
  • Kathryn Attar earned Ivy League Rookie of the Week three times in 2017, including the final weekend of the regular season with a season-best 28 kills at Columbia to help the Bulldogs to victory in a must-win situation. She's averaging 4.00 kills per set over her last six matches. 
  • Kelley Wirth leads the Bulldogs for the entire season in kills per set (2.94) -- with a total 229 kills on 593 swings. 
  • Yurkia Boyd was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week on Oct. 23 after a 27-dig effort at Brown.  
  • Junior Kate Swanson led the conference in Ivy League-only matches with a 5.43 digs per set average.  For the entire season, she leads the Bulldogs with a 4.58 average.  Earlier this season, she surpassed the 1,000 dig mark for her collegiate career.
  • Team captain Kelsey Crawford surpassed the 2,000 assist mark for her Yale career on Sept. 22 against Brown.  Crawford now has 2,255 assists and ranks ninth all time in program history.
  • Sophomore Franny Arnautou in Yale's last home match reached the 1,000 assist mark.  She also leads the Bulldogs in service aces.  
  • Yale led the Ivy League in digs per set (17.70) in conference matches.  Four Bulldogs have over 100 digs for the season -- Kate Swanson (357), Kathryn Attar (205), Franny Arnaurou (170) and Kelsey Crawford (135).
  • Izzy Simqu is having a breakout season for the Bulldogs.  Simqu ranks first on the team in total blocks (74) and fourth on the team in points per set (2.4) while hitting .310 over her 258 attacks. 
  • The Bulldogs finished their non-conference schedule with a 6-3 mark, with two of the losses coming to ranked teams  (No. 2 Penn State and then-No. 18 USC).  Over the last three years, the Bulldogs are 18-9 against teams outside the Ivy League.
  • Three Bulldogs are averaging over two digs per set, led by Kate Swanson who leads the team at a 4.13 clip.  Kathryn Attar is averaging 2.48 and Franny Arnautou is averaging 2.02.  
  • Yale has defeated a Power 5 opponent in each of the past three seasons, including two this year.  Yale beat Clemson in New Haven on September 2, and swept Wake Forest on September 16 in University Park, Pa.
  • Yale head coach Erin Appleman is in her 15th season at the helm of the Bulldogs.  She has a career record of 270-103.  In her time at Yale, the Bulldogs own the best conference record against other Ivy League volleyball programs -- 167-43. 

Report filed by Ernie Bertothy, Yale Sports Publicity