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Princeton Downs Yale in Fierce Contest

By David F. Pendrys [Official Box Score from Yale Athletics]

NEW HAVEN, CT – The Princeton Tigers handed the Yale Bulldogs volleyball team their first Ivy League loss Saturday night in a fierce match 3-1. Princeton rose to 10-3 overall and 3-0 in Ivy play. Yale drops to 8-4 and 2-1 in Ivy play. Princeton Athletics notes this was the first win for Princeton in New Haven since 2007.

Princeton’s offense was led by Natasha Skov and her 16 kills hitting .224. Caroline Sklaver had 11 kills while hitting .320. Nnenna Ibe had 10 kills with a staggering .714 hit percentage. Devon Peterkin and Maggie O’Connell’s 9 kills a piece helped the scoring as well.

Yale’s Kelley Wirth had 15 kills posting a .275 hit percentage, Izzy Simqu had 9 hitting .273. Kaitlyn Gibbons posted 8, and Kathryn Attar had 7.

Jessie Harris had 49 assists for Princeton as she set up the kills very well throughout. Maddie Huber had 16 digs, Harris had 14, Lauren Flaming, and Kelley Matthews had 12, and Peterkin had 11 as the team spread out their receives.

Franny Arnautou had 32 assists and Kelsey Crawford picked up 12 herself. Kate Swanson had 25 digs for Yale in a tremendous effort. Arnautou had 15 digs, Attar had 12, and Crawford had 10.

Princeton’s Sklaver had a solo block and shared 2 more. Ibe shared 5, O’Connell shared 4, Skov shared 2 and Peterkin joined on 1. On the Yale side, Attar had a solo block and shared 3 more. Simqu shared 3 as did Shreya Dixit. Gibbons contributed to 2 and Wirth to 1.

For the Tigers, 2 service aces flew from Flaming’s hand as well as Peterkin’s. Kelly Matthews had 1. For Yale, Arnautou launched 2 Aces, and Swanson had 1.

Set 1 started with a fairly even exchange of points, until at the 16-16 mark. A Yale error handed a point to Princeton and Harris then fed Ibe for a spike to give the team an 18-16 lead. Yale called time, and cut the lead to 1 after Tristin Kott struck. But Princeton took advantage of a Yale error and a kill from Skov to enlarge the lead again.

The visitor’s gave back the momentum with a serve out of play. Simqu and Attar then blocked a Tiger’s attack, and Wirth whacked the ball off the blockers to tie the game. Princeton would call time, but the rally was on. Arnautou served up one of her Aces, and following a great defensive save from Swanson, Attar and Simqu blocked a Princeton attack for a 22-20 advantage.

Princeton gave chase but two kills from Wirth sandwiched around one from Simqu ended things 25-22.

The Tigers roared out to a 6-3 lead in the second set, but Yale came right back to tie it at 7-7 Princeton regained the advantage as a Sklaver and Peterkin block was followed by a Sklaver kill. The Bulldogs responded with 4 straight points capped off by a Kott spike off the the Tigers and out of play. A Yale service out of bounds and a Peterkin service Ace tied the game back up.

The teams traded points until two successive attacks of varying velocities came from Gibbons and Yale was up 17-15. Princeton’s time out work as Ibe’s wallop and a Yale error tied it back up. The two squads fought through a long volley back and forth before Gibbons ended it with a strategic tap to a gap, but Sklaver responded with a rocket. Yale regained the lead only to lose it to Peterkin’s kill and two blasts from Skov. The Bulldogs gave chase, but Ibe struck yet again, then a Yale miscue followed, and a block from Ibe and O’Connell ended the set 25-21.

Set 3 would not be as even as the past two as Princeton got to an 8-3 lead and didn’t really look back. Yale pursued to reach within 8-6, but the Tigers quickly extended the lead to 12-7 thanks in part to O’Connell and Skov’s kills.

Swanson started a Yale rally when she served up an Ace, and later Gray Malias had a kill but Princeton pulled back ahead 15-11. Another brief Yale run was blunted by a Sklaver set to the back gap of the Yale zone. Dixit answered with a kill, but Sklaver and Skov both hit kills to keep the lead at 5. Peterkin’s service Ace made the lead 6, and despite a few last Yale points, O’Connell ended the set with a blast for a 25-17 set win.

The Bulldogs were not going to go away quietly and set 4 was a back and forth clash all the way to 18-18. Wirth then launched a kill off the defense hard, and Princeton committed an error immediately after giving the Yale the 20-18 advantage. The teams traded points, but Ibe and Skov teamed up to block an attack and Peterkin tipped a kill over. After a volley back and forth Ibe ended it for a Princeton lead, and O’Connell launched a smash off a defender’s failed dig for a two point lead. Ibe and O’Connell’s block made it match point. Yale delayed things one point, but O’Connell ended it 25-22.

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