Bulldogs Fall to Penn in Five Sets

Oct. 18, 2008

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Coming off of an impressive sweep of Princeton on Friday night, the Yale Bulldogs entered their match with Penn on Saturday afternoon as the lone unbeaten in the Ivy League at 5-0. But despite a career- and match-best 25 kills from Junior Cat Dailey, as well as 21 kills by junior Alexis Crusey, Yale fell from the ranks of the unbeaten in a five set nailbiter by set scores of 20-25, 25-10, 23-25, 25-22 and 14-16.

Yale is now 11-4 overall and 5-1 in Ivy League play. The loss snapped a seven match winning streak, a seven match home winning streak and a six match Ivy winning streak. With the win, the Quakers improved to 6-11 on the season and 2-3 in league play.

"Penn outplayed us," said Yale Head Coach Erin Appleman. "I don't think that we played poorly, but Penn was the better team today."

Dailey, the reigning Ivy League Player of the Week, amassed her 25 kills on 58 swings with six errors for a .328 hitting percentage. She also tallied 13 digs to notch her ninth double-double of the season. Crusey added 18 digs to her 21 kills for a double-double of her own. Senior setter Ally Mendenhall was the third Bulldog to pick up a double-double with a match-best 57 assists and 17 digs. Sophomore libero had the team high in digs with 24, and also picked up four service aces. Junior Laurel Johnson also turned in a solid effort with nine kills and five blocks.

Penn came out firing in the first set, as the Quakers jumped out to a 9-3 lead and never looked back. The Bulldogs kept the deficit manageable- between two and six points- but failed to overtake the Quakers, who took set one by a score of 25-20. Dailey had five kills to lead all players in the frame, and freshman Taylor Cramm hit .400 with four kills on five swings. As a team, Yale hit .167 (13-7-36) while Penn swung at a clip of .205 (14-6-39).

Yale dominated the second set. The Bulldogs came out of the gates with an eight of the 11 points and, after a Penn kill broke that string, quickly went on a 5-0 run to push their lead to 13-4. The Quakers never recovered from the early onslaught, which Yale capped off with a 9-0 run that included three Ozurovich aces. The Bulldogs hit a crushing .429 (15-3-28) in the stanza, while Penn posted a .000 percentage (6-6-34). Dailey once again notched the set high with five kills.

The third set was the definition of a back-and-forth affair, as neither squad established a lead greater than two points en route to a 22-22 deadlock. Elizabeth Semmens notched two consecutive kills at that point and, after a Crusey kill brought Yale back to within a point at 24-23, Semmens tallied another kill to end the set at 25-23 in favor of the visitors. Crusey posted six kills in the frame to lead all players, and Dailey added five more to run her total to 15 through three sets. The Bulldogs hit a respectable .231 (15-6-39) in the stanza, but Penn trumped them with a hitting percentage of .333 (15-2-39).

With their backs now against the wall down two sets to one, Yale found themselves in a familiar place in set four: knotted at 22-22. This time, it was the Bulldogs who went on a run, notching three consecutive points to push the match to a deciding fifth set. Dailey hit a stellar .727 in the set, piling up eight kills without an error on 11 swings. As a team, Yale hit .340 (17-3-40) while Penn hit .238 (15-5-42).

In the deciding frame, the Bulldogs battled to an 11-8 lead, inducing a Penn timeout. The Quakers responded with four straight points to grab a 12-11 lead, which Yale quickly erased with a Crusey kill that deadlocked the score yet again. The two squads split the next four points to knot the score at 14-14, but Penn gained the upper-hand on the next two points to earn a 16-14 victory and claim the win in a hard fought match. The Bulldogs hindered themselves with seven attack errors in the final frame, en route to hitting .061 (9-7-33). The Quakers capitalized on those errors, while committing only three of their own to notch a .207 (9-3-29) clip in the final set.

Julia Swanson led Penn with 15 kills. Semmens contributed 14, and Ashley Hawkins notched 10 finishers. Megan Tryon posted a double-double with 53 assists and 14 digs. Libero Madi Wojchiechowski led all players with 25 digs, including a diving effort on a Yale match point that sparked the Quakers' victory.

The Bulldogs will start up a four-match road swing next weekend with trips to Cornell and Columbia on tap. First serve in Ithaca is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday. The action in New York City begins on Saturday at 4 p.m.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity

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