By David F.P. [Modest Image Gallery]
NEW HAVEN, CT- Harvard and Yale have a bit of history between them as institutions, and this was carried onto the volleyball court Saturday evening as the Crimson took on the Yale Bulldogs, but were dispatched in 3 sets by the home team to the delight of the naturally partisan crowd.
In set 1, Yale got out and lead and hung onto it fending off a Harvard comeback or two. It was soon 12-8, and Yale had found points from the hard charging McHaney Carter, Mollie Rogers, Erica Reetz, Taylor Cramm, and Kendall Polan had all gotten in on the scoring. Harvard had picked up points from Erin Dooley, Sandra Lyn Fryhofer , Taylor Docter, and a service ace from Kristen Casey.
On the ensuing play Polan used a put over from the net which placed the ball where Harvard was not, leading to chants for Yale peanut gallery of “unexpected!” Harvard pulled back within 3 thanks in part from a service ace from Christine Wu. Yale’s Carter responded with a kill off the defenders and into the seats, and a Crimson attack error put the score back at 15-10. Yale libero Maddie Rudnick had one of her many good digs of the day on the ensuing the play, though a Yale attack error turned the point over to Harvard. The crimson had two errant attacks themselves and Yale was up 17-11, but the visitors swung back with Fryhofer tapping the ball over the front line, and Docter sending a kill through the block, two Yale attack errors helped them as well close to 17-15.
That would be as close as Harvard got however as Rogers landed a kill to the back gap and Reetz sent the ball off numerous Harvard defenders before it went out of play. Polan then served up an ace to the defense’s back corner and the score was 20-15 and the momentum regained. Harvard’s time out was followed by a doctor kill, but Rogers had another and Cramm struck twice in a row. Yale did attack out of bounds one more time, but Allie Frappier’s tap over in took the set 25-16
Yale would also grab a lead in set 2 and hold on tightly, though Harvard did attempt a few comebacks throughout. Early on the Bulldogs had a 12-6 lead. The offense came in part from Reetz’s opening kill, Frappier added one of her own and teamed with Carter on a block, and then Carter had a kill. Harvard attacked out of play twice, though kept up initially thanks to kills from Fryhofer and Docter. Yale would go on a 6-1 run however benefiting from 3 Harvard errors, and also Cramm’s kills and a block shared with Reetz.
The Crimson called a time out down 6 early. Play resumed and Cramm came up with a block to add the lead, though Docter responded with a kill, only to have Harvard serve into the net on the next play. However, the Crimson’s Cooney sent the ball off the blockers, Yale hit out of bounds, and Fryhofer uncorked a blast to pull within 4. Reetz whapped down an errant Harvard over pass, but Casey had a block and following a smash from Yale’s Carter, she added a kill again, Natalie Doyle fed Fryhofer with a pass and it was whacked in. The Crimson gave up the point on an error, but Fryhofer struck again and it was 17-14.
Reetz sent the ball off the blockers who returned it out of bounds, but after a long rally back and forth Docter struck with a big spike. After she struck again after that to cut the lead to 19-16, Yale called time. Reetz responded with another kill, and another long back and forth ensued between the two teams which Harvard’s Teresa Skelly ended to keep within 3.
Reetz hit back another errant Harvard pass to regain a four point lead, but both Skelly and Cooney had kills for Harvard and they had closed within 2. Frappier’s kill signaled her disinterest in allowing Harvard to close further, though Casey cut the lead again with a response of the Yale’s blocker. Polan set the ball to Carter who smashed the ball into the opponent’s corner though to make the score 23-20. Casey sent a kill off a Bulldog and into the Yale bench, but Rogers struck again and then teamed with Cramm on a block to end the set in dramatic fashion 25-21.
Last weekend Yale had gone into the break between sets 2 and 3 with a 2-0 lead on Columbia and the Lions had battled back to tie it in 2 sets, so a 2-0 lead was by no means a sure thing in volleyball. The Bulldogs however did not let Harvard achieve that goal and blasted out to a big lead early which they maintained throughout. The offense for the Bulldogs included Frappier’s kill, a service ace from Reetz, another kill from Frappier, then one from Carter, which she followed up with another big smash soon afterward, Rogers launched a missile into the opposing zone and Cramm got in on the scoring as well. In that time Harvard’s Skelly and Casey had kills and Olivia Stafon a service ace, but the score was 8-4. Harvard snagged a point off a Yale attack error and another kill from the dangerous Docter, but it was as close as they would get as their own error would put Yale back up 3, Rogers added another kill and Polan sent a serve right into the corner untouched. The score was 11-6.
Yale kept scoring with Harvard in furious pursuit as each team added 9 points, but Yale’s advantage kept them ahead 20-15. Each team picked up points on various opponent errors. Skelly had a block, and later Cooney added another kill, and Casey smashed through a blocking line, later she and Skelly each would have kills. Yale’s Rogers used both a forceful kill and a light tap in succession, and Frappier added a pair of kills as well. Reetz served the ball and it careened off a Harvard player into the cluster of vocal Yale fans leading to a natural response, and on the next play Polan fed Carter who launched a kill off the Crimson and into the same group leading to even more of a response.
Polan had a put down late and Rogers added a block, later Polan took a ball that had just been dug and smashed it over. Following a Yale error, the Bulldogs went on a run to put themselves in good position, as Polan fed Rogers who knew what to do with it, Reetz than smashed the ball off the blockers, and Rogers added a kill and a block, the score was 24-16. At match point a good many fans in the stands stood awaiting the final point. A two contacts error on Yale stopped the set win and two blocks from Docter delayed it further she had a kill as well, but on the ensuing play Reetz ended it with a spike. 25-20, Yale won 3 sets to 0.
Rogers had 14 kills on the day, Reetz had 9 and a .444 hit percentage, Carter had 8 and .500 hit percentage, Frappier had 6, Cramm 5, and Polan 4. Polan had 37 assists on the day, and Rudnick had 17 digs on the day, Frappier 12, and Polan 11. Polan had 3 serve aces and Reetz had 2. Rogers and Cramm each participated in 3 blocks and each had a solo block amidst those totals. Yale had only 10 errors on the day.
For Harvard, Docter had 12 kills on the day and .324 hit percentage, Fryhofer had 8, Casey had 7, Cooney 5, and Skelly 4. Doyle had 33 assists. 3 Harvard players had a service ace. Wu had 18 digs on the day, Doyle and Casey each had 10. Harvard had no blocks.
Erin Appleman’s Yale team rose to 11-5, and 5-0 in the Ivy League and the Harvard team of Jennifer Weiss dropped to 9-6 and, 2-3 in the Ivies.
Editor’s Note: This is based on notes taken at the match, verified against the official play by play if possible. [Official box score was posted on the official athletics website.] Reports focus on offense since it is easier to track but note defensive play whenever possible. It is difficult to note things like digs and assists although they are no doubt vital to the game. Also, a lot happens in a volleyball game, far more than can fit into a report, so this just notes some of it.