Bulldogs Outlasted By Albany in Five Sets

Sept. 26, 2008

Box Score

ALBANY, N.Y. - The Yale volleyball team found itself with a quick 2-0 lead on the University at Albany Great Danes on Friday night at the UAlbany Invitational. However, despite double-doubles from Alexis Crusey and Ally Mendenhall, the home team battled all the way back to earn a hard-fought 3-2 victory.

With the loss, Yale falls to 4-3. Albany improved to 6-7 on the season.

"I was very pleased with how we played in the first two sets," said Yale Head Coach Erin Appleman of her team's performance. "But we didn't stay focused, which will always cost you against an exceptional team like Albany."

Crusey notched a season- and match-high 18 kills, and also contributed 15 digs. Mendenhall tallied season highs in both assists and digs with 39 and 15. Freshman Taylor Cramm contributed nine kills for the Bulldogs, and sophomore Kelly Ozurovich led the way in digs with 23.

The first set started off as a back-and-forth battle, with the teams knotted early at 9-9. The Great Danes promptly went on a quick 3-0 run to force Coach Appleman to call a timeout trailing 12-9. The Bulldogs responded immediately with a 6-1 run that induced Albany to burn their first timeout. From that point forward, the Great Danes chipped away at Yale's slim lead and eventually knotted the score at 16-16. Both teams claimed slight advantages at this point in the set, with each claiming leads, but neither able to pull away. A 3-0 run, led by a block and then a kill from Kalyn Mostert, gave Albany a 22-20 lead that prompted Coach Appleman to use her final timeout. Once again, the Bulldogs responded with a run. This time, Yale rallied off two successive points to tie the score at 22-22. An Albany timeout failed to quell the Bulldogs' momentum, as Yale posted the final three points immediately to win the first set, 25-22.

Crusey and Johnson paced Yale with four kills apiece in the opening frame. Albany's Valerie Sourbeer matched that effort to pace the Great Danes in kills. Freshman Taylor Cramm added three kills with a set-high .375 hitting percentage. Mendenhall distributed 12 assists and Ozurovich notched nine digs to lead Yale in the first set.

The Bulldogs kept their momentum in the second set, as they jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead and never looked back, eventually winning by a score of 25-19. Cramm and Sourbeer posted five kills apiece to share the set-high. Mendenhall tallied 10 assists and eight digs in the second stanza to pace Yale in both categories.

Down two sets to none, the Great Danes refused to quit and jumped out to an 8-1 lead to begin the third frame. A kill by Dailey ended the early run, but did little to derail Albany. The home team led by as many as 13 points en route to a 25-12 victory.

The fourth set begun much like the first, as the teams traded points until a 9-9 deadlock. From that point forward, the Great Danes outscored the Bulldogs 16-5 to runaway with the equalizing set by a score of 25-14.

In the all-deciding fifth set, Albany parlayed its momentum from the previous two stanzas into an early 8-4 lead. The Bulldogs never found a rhythm in the fifth set as the Great Danes completed their comeback with a 15-6 victory.

Kamisha Kellam's 14 kills led three Great Danes with double figures in finishers. Brooke Stanley notched the match high of 47 assists, and Laurie Gonzalez earned a match-best 27 digs.

The Bulldogs will continue action at the UAlbany Invitational tomorrow with a pair of matches. Yale challenges Dayton at noon, and then concludes tournament action with a 5 p.m. match against the Long Island Blackbirds.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity