October 12, 2008

Volleyball Celebrates 30th Anniversary

Oct. 12, 2008

NEW HAVEN, Conn.- 30 years of tradition converged upon the Elm City on Saturday afternoon as the Yale University volleyball team celebrated its 30th anniversary. The festivities, which included an alumnae match and a reception/dinner, were highlighted by a thrilling, five-set victory over Harvard for the 2008 Yale squad.

The alumnae match, which pitted the odd years of graduation vs. the even years, was a hotly-contested affair. The even years pulled out a 2-1 victory, punctuated by a 20-18 edge in the decisive third frame.

"I knew [they] were all still competitors," quipped Yale Head Coach Erin Appleman at the evening's reception, "when I looked in [their] eyes at about 10-10 in the third game".

After the current Bulldogs outlasted the Crimson, Yale volleyball alumnae as well as current players, coaches and Yale athletic administrators convened at the President's Room in Commons Dining Hall for a reception and dinner. Coach Appleman, 2008 captain Ally Mendenhall, Rosie Wustrack '99, Susie Krentz '80, Aileen Daly '01 and Director of Athletics Tom Beckett all spoke of the contributions of Yale volleyball in their lives and to the University as a whole.

Current players acknowledged those before them that helped pave the way for the Yale volleyball program in its infancy. Many noted the accomplishments of the 1978 Ivy League Championship team and spoke with pride about watching the 2004 squad, the first and only Ivy League team to win and host an NCAA Tournament match.

Praise was not limited to the past, however. Wustrack, a two-time Ivy League Player of the Year, joked that she would be relegated to "second-string ball girl" on the 2008 squad.

Beckett focused upon the role of volleyball in the rise to equality among women's athletics at Yale. The Athletic Director capped off his speech by noting that the past five national champions from Yale have been women or women's teams.

In different ways, the six speakers all found themselves arriving at a single thesis: Yale volleyball has been a cornerstone in the Yale community and the lives of its players for 30 years and counting.

View photos from the 30th Anniversary Celebration

report filed by Drew M. Kingsley, Yale Sports Publicity

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