On Saturday October 20th, the Yale Bulldogs welcomed in Ivy League opponent Columbia to Payne Whitney Gym.
Ally Mendenhall started things off for the home team with a service ace to put Yale up to a 1-0 lead. Columbia’s Lauren Russell responded with a spike which was untouched to the floor and it was 1-1. Russell and Amalia Viti blocked a ball over which Yale was unable to return and it was 1-2 Lions. Kali Nelson picked up a kill when her strike over the net flew over the diving defender. Viti spiked a ball in and it was 2-3 Columbia, but Yale came right back with a Nelson kill. Kelly Ozurovich picked up the Bulldog’s second service ace of the day, though Cassie Ligh tied the game back up for the visitor’s with her attack and following a two hit error on Yale, it was 4 -5. Natalie Gerling nabbed an ace for the lions, and a hit out of bounds by Yale gave Columbia a 3 point lead 4-7, but the Bulldogs responded when Nelson hit a ball into the gap.
Columbia’s Alexis Crusey and Kristen Wilk had a block, but Julia Mailander came up with a spike for Yale on the next play. Katie Mitchell responded with a spike for the visitors, though Mendenhall had a spike of her own, and another service ace for her brought the score to 8-9. The Bulldogs tied the score when Allison Kaptur and Nicole Perkins came up with a block. The scoring continued for Yale off of a Columbia hit out of bounds, followed by a Perkins smash to end a big rally. Another hit out of bounds by Columbia, and another Perkins spike put the score at 13-9. This lead to a time out, though Yale picked up three more points before a serve out of bounds let the score at 15-10.
The Bulldogs took off on a large scoring run off Mendenhall tapping a ball in, and she followed that with a pair of service aces separated by a Perkins tap in. Kaptur and Nelson’s block picked up Yale’s fifth straight point. Columbia’s Ligh put an end to the run when she hit it over the net and the Bulldogs couldn’t get it. Nelson responded with a hit over the net which the defense had knocked out of bounds. Yale served into the net, but Nelson spiked it over to put the home team up to a ten point lead.
Following another Yale point, Columbia went on a scoring run of their own. Viti spiked a shot off a block, Yale committed a lift penalty, Gerling had a service ace, and Viti again picked up a spike to the gap. The run concluded with Gerling picking up another ace and it was 23-17.
The Bulldogs picked up another point when Nelson tapped a ball in and the defense couldn’t return it. Wilk then had a huge spike, and Columbia had a return go out of bounds. The score was 26-17 when CU’s Mitchell spiked a ball over to make it 26-18. Wilk responded with a spike from the right to the defense’s left back gap untouched. Wilk then combined with Mailander to block a shot in and Yale was within 2 of the victory. Columbia’s Shannon Hunzicker set a ball backwards at the net and over which the defense knocked a ball out of bounds to bring Columbia to 19.
Mailander hit a ball to where the defense wasn’t to put Yale within one, and a two hit error brought Yale the win in the game. Yale 1, Columbia 0
Game 2 began with a big rally. Yale surrendered a point to Columbia when the ball sailed into the net, despite a good defensive save by Ozurovich, but Perkins tied it up for the home team when she tapped a ball beyond the front line of the Lions. Mailander’s serve hit off a defender and flew out of bounds to give her the ace and another Yale point. Viti’s knock over the net would bounce of the Bulldog defense and out to tie thins up for Columbia, though serve than a spike out of bounds gave Yale a 4-2 lead. Viti’s spike put the score at 4-3, and a home team error tied the score back up and Viti found a gap to spike a ball into to take the lead for Columbia.
When the Lions served the ball out of bounds to tie the score back at 5 a back and forth would ensue, including spikes by Gerling and Ligh as well as Mitchell and Hunzicker combining on a block for the visitors, but Yale had a huge smash from Wilk and a well placed tap into a gap by Perkins. The score was now tied at 9-9.
The Bulldogs then went on a scoring run started by a Columbia spike out of bounds. Mendenhall stepped in and sent a serve sailing just in bounds, which the defense didn’t go after for the ace. Following that, Perkins spiked a ball off the blockers who deflected the attack out of bounds, and she ended the following big rally with another smash. With the score now 13-9 a time out was called.
CU’s Ligh spiked the ball just in bounds to pick up a point for her time, and Gerling had a spike of her own to bring the visitors back within two, 13-11. Yale’s Nelson put an end to the brief scoring streak and started one for her team with her massive spike, followed up by Mailander and Kaptur blocking for a point. Kaptur and Nelson shared a block after that, and Kaptur capped the scoring run knocking a ball just in bounds. A serve into then net momentarily stopped the Bulldog scoring, but they picked up three more points, before Gerling and Mitchell picked up a block and Mitchell got a hold of a Yale set which carried over the net and unleashed the spike, the score was now 20-14.
Yale would pick up a trio of points, on a pair of Columbia errors, as well as a Mendenhall spike to a gap in the Lions defense. Mitchell spiked a shot in, but Mailander came up with a big spike of her own, though Ligh responded with a well struck kill as well to bring the score to 24-16. The two sides traded points, though Hunzicker came up with an ace, and Gerling picked up a spike to bring the visitors within five to make it 25-20.
Perkins tapped a ball behind the opponent’s front line, though Columbia pulled back within five on the next play. A big rally ensued ending when Perkins and Morgan Hume blocked a ball. The play also had a good defensive maneuver by Ozurovich, and following a ball hit out of bounds the score was 28-21.
Columbia’s Viti responded with three straight kills including an especially massive spike. Mailander came up with a big spike of her own to put Yale within 1 of victory. The score was 29-24, when the Lions hit a ball out of bounds and Yale would win the game 30-24.
Yale 2, Columbia 0.
Game three began with three straight Columbia points including Russell picking up a kill, and a block shared with Viti. Yale got on the board when the visitors served out of bounds and spiked a ball out of bounds on the next play as well. Columbia would pick up a point following that though, but Hume came up with a big spike for Yale, though the visitors had a spike of their own.
Mailander pulled the Bulldogs back within one with a big time smash, and a spike out of bounds on the next rally tied the score up at 5. Gerling recaptured the lead with a spike kill, but Yale came back when Mendenhall tapped a shot into the gap. The home team took of on another scoring run with Perkins picking up a kill, and Mailander serving up two straight service aces. The Lions hit a return into the net and it was 10-6 Yale.
The home team served into the net on the next play, but picked up a point following that. Columbia committed another error during a rally with some good D saves. The Lions weren’t done yet, and Russell picked up a pair of kills, surrounding Hunzicker’s service ace, and a Yale error. Gerling then delivered the big smash to a gap in the back Yale line and the score was 12-12.
Gerling’s kill to a gap in the left defense scored the 13th point for Columbia, but Perkins had a spike to tie it back up. She would then have a good defensive save which played a role in a rally which Laurel Johnson ended with a block. A Columbia spike into the net, and a second Johnson block extended the lead to 16-13, and a Lion spike out of bounds added to that lead, and lead to a time out.
Following the play stoppage Cassie Ligh picked up a kill to make it 17-14. Despite some quality blocks, Columbia gave up a point off a 2 hit penalty, and then hit a ball out of bounds to all behind 19-14. Yale served out of bounds and put the lead back at 4 until Johnson’s huge spike bounced off the defense to the floor put the score at 20-15. The scoring continued with a pair of Ozurovich aces, and a Katie Fitzpatrick spike. An additional point put Yale ahead by nine, 24-15.
Gerling spiked a kill, but the visiting team hit it out of bounds on the ensuring play. Nelson’s serve for Yale was hit by the defense into the seats and gained her an ace and gained the team a ten point lead. A pair of errors put Columbia within 8, but Mailander tapped a ball over to put the Bulldogs within 3 of winning the match. Teammate Kate Parker found a gap to hit a ball through and it was 28-18. A Yale serve into the net gave the serve to Columbia, but Fitzpatrick smashed a shot in on the following play to put it at 29-19. Ligh handled the lack of a safety net by providing a huge spike, which coupled with a pair of Yale errors brought the score to 29-22 Perkins ended the game and match with a spike to make it 30-22, Yale 3, Columbia 0.
(Based on eyewitness account verified against official play by play.)
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