November 14, 2008

Bulldogs Outlast Penn in Five Sets, Will Play Princeton for Ivy Title Tomorrow

Nov. 14, 2008

Box Score

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - With the memory of their lone Ivy League loss, a five-set misstep against Penn on Oct. 17 in New Haven, fresh in mind, the Yale volleyball team went to Philadelphia on Friday evening refusing to let history repeat itself. The match was another five-set nailbiter between the Bulldogs and Quakers, with Yale coming out on top by set scores of 25-18, 19-25, 25-19, 23-25 and 15-12.

The Bulldogs, winners of 14 of their last 15 matches, improved to 18-4 overall with the win and maintained first place in the Ivy League at 12-1. Penn fell to 12-12 overall and 8-4 in league contests. The Princeton Tigers, who swept Brown on Friday, are now 11-1 in Ivy League play. The Bulldogs and Tigers will meet tomorrow, with the Bulldogs in position to clinch the Ivy League title outright with a victory.

Junior Cat Dailey led the way for Yale with a match-best 22 kills and 25 digs, which shared the team best with sophomore libero Kelly Ozurovich. Junior Alexis Crusey posted 16 kills and 20 digs, and junior Laurel Johnson tallied 10 kills on 20 attempts without a service error.

Senior Ally Mendenhall ran the offense to the tune of 57 assists. The captain of the Bulldogs also chipped in with 21 digs.

Freshman Taylor Cramm was a force at the net for Yale, totaling 11 blocks in the match. As a team, the Bulldogs outblocked the Quakers, 15-10.

The match was a back-and-forth affair from the get-go, with the two teams trading the first 12 points of the opening set. At that point, the Bulldogs rattled off the next three tallies to induce a Penn timeout with the score at 9-6 in favor of the visitors. The Quakers tied the score on four occasions in the next stint of action, and claimed a short-lived one-point lead at 12-11, but Yale held fast and inflated their lead to four points at 18-14 as Penn acting head coach Ryan Goodwin called his second timeout. The Quakers never let the set slip out of reach, but the Bulldogs kept their momentum and claimed the opening stanza by a score of 25-18. Crusey led all players with five kills in the first set. Laurel Johnson posted four kills on five attempts without an error in the frame. Mendenhall recorded the set high with 13 assists and shared the set best of eight digs with the Quakers' Madison Wojchiechowski.

Penn jumped out to quick 8-4 lead in the second set and maintained their four-point advantage to a tally of 11-7, forcing Coach Appleman to call her first timeout. The Quakers maintained their lead after the stoppage, and Yale took its second timeout 10 points later, now trailing by six points at 17-11. The Bulldog timeout failed to derail the home team, who tied the match at 1-1 with a 25-19 set two victory. Dailey and Penn's Elizabeth Semmens each totaled five kills in the frame to lead all players. Megan Tryon distributed 12 assists for the set high in that department, and Wojechiechowski once again led the way in digs, totaling five in the set.

After the intermission, both teams came out firing as they raced to a 16-12 tally in favor of the Bulldogs. Coach Goodwin called a timeout to attempt to quell the Bulldogs' momentum, but Yale kept up their torrid pace, amassing a 21-15 lead before Penn was forced to burn their second timeout. The teams split the next six points after the stoppage, giving the Bulldogs a 24-18 lead. Penn stifled Yale's first set-point attempt, but a Dailey kill ended it at 25-19 in favor of the Blue. Dailey notched a total of six kills in the set to lead Yale, while Julia Swanson led all players with eight finishers in the frame. Mendenhall dished out a set-best 14 assists in the stanza, and several players on both sides of the set shared the set best in digs with four.

With Yale needing one more set to close out the match, the Quakers established early on that they were not going to bow out without a fight. The home team battled to an 18-15 lead as Coach Appleman called a timeout to squash the Quakers' momentum. The Bulldogs responded by notching four of the next five points to tie the score at 19-19 and force Coach Goodwin to stop play with a timeout. Penn edged Yale in the next series of play, pushing the score to 24-23 with the serve for set point. After a Yale timeout, the Quakers cashed in on their set-point opportunity and pushed the match to a deciding fifth set with a 25-23 win. Swanson crushed five kills and Tryon doled out 13 assists to led all players in the frame. Wojechiechowski notched a set-best 10 digs in the frame.

Yale jumped out to an early lead in the decisive set, claiming a 4-2 lead before Penn took a timeout to try to quell the potential for a big run. The Quakers notched the next two points to knot the score at 4-4. The deadlock ran to 7-7, and a service ace by junior Lydia Mailander gave Yale a slim 8-7 lead as the team' switched sides of the net. The score quickly ran to a stalemate at 9-9, and Penn claimed the next point to induce a Yale timeout. Yale bounced back as a Crusey kill tied the score again at 10-10, but Penn rattled off the next two points to take a 12-10 lead. The Bulldogs responded to the deficit once again, tying the score at 12-12 and then claiming the lead at 13-12 to force Coach Goodwin to burn his second timeout. Yale tallied the next point to earn match point at 14-12, and a Dailey kill ended the match with Yale earning a 15-12 victory.

"Penn is a great team," said Coach Appleman of her opponents. "They played a great match, and we made it in even tougher by committing unforced errors."

The Bulldogs committed 23 attack errors, 13 service errors and five reception errors in the match.

The Quakers were led by 17 kills from Swanson. Tryon distributed 47 assists, and Wojchiechowski posted a match-high 29 digs for Penn.

The Bulldogs are back in action tomorrow at 4 p.m., as they vie for the outright Ivy League Title against the defending champion Princeton Tigers. A complimentary student bus to the match will leave Payne Whitney Gym at 1 p.m. tomorrow and will return to New Haven immediately following the contest.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity

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