November 25, 2008

No. 16 San Diego Overpowers Bulldogs

Nov. 25, 2008

Box Score

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Fresh off of winning the third Ivy League title in program history, the Yale volleyball team traveled to the Golden State for a non-conference tilt with No. 16 nationally-ranked San Diego. The Bulldogs left no doubt that they were up to the fight, but the three-time defending West Coast Conference champions ultimately claimed a sweep by set scores of 25-15, 25-10 and 25-20.

With the loss, the Bulldogs fell to 19-5 on the season and had an eight-match winning streak snapped. San Diego closed out its regular season at 23-4 as winners of its last four contests.

"We didn't execute tonight," said Yale Head Coach Erin Appleman. "San Diego is a great team, and they took advantage of all of our mistakes. We are capable of playing much better than we did tonight."

Junior Cat Dailey, the Ivy League Player of the Year, led the Bulldogs with nine kills and nine digs. Junior Julia Mailander also recorded nine kills for the match. Senior setter Ally Mendenhall dished out 22 assists and sophomore libero Kelly Ozurovich notched a team-best 10 digs.

The teams traded the first eight points of the match before the Toreros built a four-point lead at 10-6. Yale battled back to within a point at 11-10, but a 5-1 San Diego run pushed the score to 16-11 and forced Coach Appleman to call the first timeout of the set. The stoppage in play, however, did not derail the Toreros, and Appleman used her second timeout shortly after with the score now at 20-13 in favor of the home team. Yale would manage just two more points in the set as San Diego closed out the opening frame by a score of 25-15.

Dailey led the Bulldogs with five kills in the frame. Mendenhall dished out nine assists for Yale, and also paced the Ivy League Champions with four digs. San Diego's Amy DeGroot led all players with six finishers. Jessica Nyrop distributed 12 assists, and Nyrop and DeGroot each tallied five digs. Yale hit a respectable .243 (12-3-37) in the stanza, while San Diego hit at a scorching clip of .412 (17-3-34).

In the second set, San Diego raced out to an 11-4 lead before Yale called a timeout in an attempt to quell Toreros' momentum. The set, however, clearly belonged to the home team, as they never looked back en route to a 25-10 win.

Junior Laurel Johnson notched four of Yale's eight kills in the set. DeGroot picked up seven more kills for the Toreros to run her total to 13 through two frames. The Bulldogs hit .111 (8-4-36) in the set, while San Diego kept up its sizzling pace with a .529 (20-234) hitting percentage.

Yale grabbed a 4-3 lead in the third set and, after the Toreros claimed two of the next three points to establish a 5-4 advantage, battled to lead once again at 11-10. The Bulldogs established a two-point lead, its first multiple-point advantage of the match, at 15-13, but the home team quickly erased the deficit with a two-point spurt. The squads traded the next four points to maintain the deadlock at 17-17, but San Diego started to pull away as Coach Appleman took a timeout with her squad trailing, 19-17. The Bulldogs never allowed the Toreros to pull away, but failed to overtake the home team, as they took the set and match with a 25-20 win. Yale committed 11 attack errors while notching 11 kills in the set for a .000 hitting percentage. San Diego had its worst set of the match, hitting .200 (11-4-35) in the frame.

DeGroot finished with a match-high 16 kills, and added 11 digs for a double-double. Nyrop, who played only two sets, led the way in assists with 29.

"This match can be a positive for us going into the NCAA Tournament," said Appleman. "We learned that we have the ability to compete with some of the best teams in the country. But we will need to play much better than we did tonight."

Before the NCAA Tournament field is announced on Nov. 30 at 10 p.m., the Bulldogs will trek to Los Angeles for their regular season finale on Nov. 29 at Loyola Marymount. The match is scheduled for 11 p.m. ET.

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity