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Yale and Brown Clash in Close Contest

By David F. Pendrys [Official Yale Box Score]

The Yale Bulldogs Volleyball team dispatched a tough Brown Bears squad on Friday night in Lee Ampitheater 3 – 0. The sweep was somewhat misleading as sets 1 and 3 especially were great back and forth quarrels. Yale did not dominate the match, but did what they had to hold off their opponents.

Set 1 opened to a 11-11 tie, before Brown took a slight 13-11 lead which would build to a 16-13 score after Shirin Tooloee’s spike through the blockers was followed by a Yale attack error. The Bulldogs called a time out, but Brown kept rolling, as Joanne Won’s good dig of a Yale ball helped set up a Tooloee cross court strike. A point later, Eliza Grover tipped the ball lightly past the Yale defense line, and teammate Courtney Palm walloped the ball into the Yale zone where it was unreturned to bring the score to 19-13. Another time out followed. Yale at this point was seeming to be struggling on defense and communication. These problems would subside as the match went on.

The time out worked however as Yale’s Tristin Kott teed up a cross court slam to break the Brown run. Shreva Dixit blocked a Bears spike attempt for another point and Kaitlyn Gibbons served up an Ace to cut the lead to 19-16. Brown called a time out to regroup and did manage to pull out to 21-18 off two Tooloee kills, but Yale was in pursuit. Kott’s wallop to a back gap stopped the run and after some point trading the blue and white’s Gray Malias and Gibbons each had successive kills to tie the set at 22. An errant Brown dig sailed over the net and Izzy Simqu smacked it down from the net to get the home team a lead.

Brown would call time again but it was too late. On the ensuing play, Gibbons saved the ball from hitting the floor after the team was nearly fooled by a fake set attack by Brown. The ball was returned over the net by a teammate and eventually hit back where Gibbons spiked it just in bounds. At set point, Kelley Wirth hit the ball off the Bears front line and out of bounds to take it 25-22. The evenly matched set made sense given Yale’s hit percentage was .281 and Brown’s .216

Set 2 was another story. Brown built a 13-7 lead over their opponents only to Yale close the gap with kills from Kathryn Attar and Bears errors. After Kate Swanson served up an Ace to bring the score to 13-11, Brown called a time out. Yale clawed back into it including kills from Simqu and Kott on their way to a 15-15 tie. The teams traded points around but two Brown attack errors gave Yale an 18-16 lead. A time out would follow at 19-17 mar but the visitors were in trouble.

Dixit spiked the ball from the net in effectively for another Yale point and Wirth soon sliced her attack through the blockers to make it 23-17. Tooloee broke the run with a kill, but that would be the last Brown point as they would give up an attack error, and Gibbons struck again. At set point it would be Gibbons who tipped the ball over the blocking line effectively to end it at 25-16. Yale’s hit percentage ended up at .370 once they got going, and Brown’s was a rough .054.

Brown didn’t go away and instead rushed out of the gates to an 8-3 lead off kills from a variety of players and some Yale errors. An understandable Bulldog time out ensued. Wirth’s kill broke Brown’s scoring run, though the Bears got one right back at the hands of Makena Ehlert, Yale rolled though as Wirth and Dixit both had kills and 3 Brown errors resulted in a 9-9 tie and a Brown time out.

Yale kept rolling, getting to a 16-10 lead with a block from Dixit and Kott, an ace from Kelsey Crawford right off the dig attempt of Brown, some more Brown attack errors, and another block from Dixit. Palm finally stopped Yale’s run with a hard kill but a point later Crawford set it to Dixit and she smashed the ball across for a 17-11 lead. After some point trading it was 20-13, but Brown roared back into it.

Jacqueline Jacobs tapped her attack in and the defense was flummoxed. Won then landed a serve just in bounds for an Ace. A stray Yale pass went to Palm who put it down from the net, and a Yale error cut the lead to 20-17. After a Yale time out, Sabrina Stillwell whapped the ball into a gap into the Bulldogs defense to cut it to 20-18, and Ehlert nailed two kills to tie the set at 20.

Wirth responded with a light touch for a point, but Stillwell rocketed her attack down the line to keep it tied. Wirth again attacked, and a Brown error gave Yale a 23-21 advantage. Grover answered with a kill, but Dixit’s put down from the net put Yale in set and match point territory. Grover again stopped Yale with a kill. It only delayed things by one point however as Kott’s spike sent the ball off a Brown dig and out of bounds to win the set 25-23. Yale’s hit percentage in the set was .194 to Brown’s .179.

For Brown, Ehlert led her team with 10 kills, Tooloee had 8 , Stillwell 6, Palm 5, and Grover 4. Of those with a lot of attack attempts Stillwell had the best hit percentage with a .4.

Elisa Merten had 16 assists, and Emma Chow had 12. Won, Melissa Cairo, and Merten each had a service ace. Won had 9 digs on the day. Stillwell and Palm shared a block.

For Yale, Wirth had 13 kills to lead the team. Kott and Dixit had 6, Gibbons 5, Attar and Simqu had 4. Dixit’s hit percentage was a great .857, and Kott had a .545. Franny Arnautou had 18 assists and Crawford had 15. Swanson came away with 15 digs and Attar had 8.

Gibbons, Crawford, and Swanson all had aces, and Dixit had 2 solo blocks and 2 shared blocks. Wirth, Kott, Gibbons and Simqu all shared a block each.

Yale rises to 7-3 and 1-0 in Ivy League play. Brown drops to 5-7 and 0-1 in the Ivy League.

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