NEW HAVEN, CT- The Yale Bulldogs would have face a determined opponent in the Columbia Lions Saturday evening in continuing Ivy League play. Coach Erin Appleman’s Yale squad would pull out to a 2 to zero set lead, only to have Jon Wilson’s Lions fight back to tie the match up 2-2 leading to a decisive set 5, which would also be a close one with the Bulldogs edging their opponents from the city, for the 3-2 set win.
In set 1 the two teams parried back and forth to a 12-12 tie, but Yale started to build a lead after that point eventually wrapping things up with a 25-18 set win. Points for the Bulldogs came in part from a tap attack from McHaney Carter early on, a tip from Erica Reetz, a big spike from Mollie Rogers, a service ace from Kendall Polan, followed up by a kill from Taylor Cramm. Later Cramm and Reetz shared a block, and Allie Frappier had a big kill, a cross court smash followed for Reetz, and Carter put down an overpass as the lead grew. Rogers tipped a ball into a gap later, and used far more force after that, Cramm got back in on the scoring, and as the set drew to a close, Polan served up another ace, followed by Cramm knocking the ball of the blockers to end it.
Points for Columbia included benefiting from a variety of early Yale attack errors, Cindy Chen served up an ace, Madeline Rumer had a light kill, Megan Gaughn had a pair of kills back to back, later Rumer struck again, and later Chen smashed a ball through the block attempt, Colleen Brennan set it over, and later Gaughn hit another kill, another kill would follow for her late in the set. Brennan had some big defensive saves late in the set as well.
Set 2 would go Yale’s way as well but would be a tad closer as they edged the Lions 25-22. Yale points came in part from an early block by Reetz followed by one of her kills, and a Frappier ace that landed just in bounds, Polan used a light touch a few points later, and Cramm and Frappier had kills in rapid succession, though Frappier added another one that sailed through the block. Not long after Reetz launched a rocket into the Lions defensive zone to be followed by a pair of attack errors, a Carter kill, a cross court missile from Reetz, and and a huge kill from her not long after that, Carter added a kill off the defense and onto the scorer’s table, and Frappier didn’t let a block stop her from yet another kill and she would added two more.
Columbia’s points came in part from Chen crushing the ball early, later Gaughn added to her points total, Savannah Fletcher tapped the ball off the blockers, and Gaughn also did so, Fletcher added a block, and Brennan served up an ace, Fletcher added another kill not long after, and Chen dropped the hammer with a titanic kill midway through. Gaughn struck yet again, and Fletcher had a trio of points including one to tie up things later. Gaughn and Fletcher had 1 more each, and Monique Roberts added a block, Chen blasted another, and Roberts added another point for the last of the Lions scoring in the set.
In Set 3 Columbia exploded out to a 12 to 5 lead, including an early cross court kill from Roberts, a shared block between her and Denise Dearman, two points from Fletcher, and yet another, Gaughn added a service ace to her scoring, and Kelsey Musselman had a put over, Chen and Fletcher than shared a block, and a Yale attack error put them up 7. Yale’s offense included two kills from Frappier.
The Lions kept building the lead and reached a 23-13 advantage, 10 points ahead and only 2 points away from the set win. Chen, Roberts, and Dearman all had kills, and Gaughn and Fletcher shared a block, before Dearman added a solo block. Fletcher added a whap for the 23rd points. Yale picked up points from Reetz, Carter, and Rogers as well by Polan hacking a ball into the front gap, and Rogers and Frappier added to their kill totals.
Yale began a comeback with a quick point, Carter’s solo block, and a tandem one with Reetz, as well, as 3 Columbia attack errors put the score at 19-23. Gaughn stopped the bleeding, but the Lions spiked the ball out of bounds to make the score 24-20. A Yale attack error would end the set though and it was 25-20 Columbia.
After that close set, Columbia basically dominated set 4, to tie the match up, putting together a 25-13 score, which had Yale trailing big throughout most of it. The Bulldogs did pick up points thanks to several kills from Reetz, a tap from Cramm, and later a spike from her, Frappier added one as well, and Reetz got back in on the scoring with a kill and a shared block with Carter. A few of Yale’s late points came from Polan, Carter, and a service ace from Maddie Rudnick to the gap.
Columbia’s points in the set win included Chen opening up the set, a tap from Gaughn, and later a much more forceful attack, Charlee Dyroff had a service ace, and two kills came from Fletcher, and another from Gaughn, Chen struck twice in a row continuing her dangerous ways, and Roberts had several more. Dearman launched a kill off a Bulldog and out of play, Chen had several key saves in this time as well, Gaughn ended a long volley back and forth with a spike, Dyroff added another service ace and Dearman punctuated that with a block, Chen struck yet again, Caitlin Brenton used a lighter touch, and Chen ended the set with yet another kill.
So Yale’s two set lead had vanished though the rowdy Yalies in the first few rows didn’t indicate that as they kept cheering with vigor. It would come down to set 5. Yale gave up a point with a spike out of bounds, but Rogers tied it back up with a kill, Roberts received a set and hammered it home to regain the lead for Columbia and a Yale double contact put the lead at 2, Polan cut it in half with a kill, but the teams traded points until Frappier’s smash tied the set at 5.
Fletcher’s spike and shared block with Musselman put the lead at 2, but Carter’s block in return cut the lead again. Chen responded for the Lions, but Reetz’s two kill tied it back up again at 8. A Columbia attack error gave the lead to Yale, but Chen’s tap attack tied it again.
Rogers accepted a set ball and crushed it over the net, only to have the number 9 from the other team, Roberts, tie it again. Rogers responded, and she was followed by two kills from Frappier. Yale now led 13-10. Roberts blocked a Yale attack to cut the lead to 2, but an attack error by Columbia, and Frappier’s kill ended it 15-11.
Also of note, Columbia’s Dyroff had a variety of key defensive saves throughout the match, as did Yale’s Rudnick in their libero roles.
Statwise, Reetz led the Bulldogs with 16 kills, Frappier had 15, and Rogers and Carter 10. Polan had 47 assists on the day, and Rudnick had 22 digs. Rogers had 21 digs as well. Reetz also participated in 5 blocks on the day. Polan had 2 service aces of the 4 that Yale served up.
For Columbia, Gaughn led the kill totals with 17, Chen and Fletcher had 14, and Roberts 9 though Fletcher’s hit percentage was .478. Musselman had 29 assists on the day and Brennan 17. Dyroff had 3 service aces total, she also had 29 digs, Chen had 26. Fletcher took part in 6 blocks and Gaughn took part in 4.
Yale’s record rose to 9-4 and 3-0 in the Ivy League, Columbia dropped to 8-5, and 2-1 in the Ivy League.
Editor’s Note: This is based on notes taken at the match, normally verified against the official play by play if possible. 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.