Sports

After showing improvement, volleyball team seeks revenge against powerhouse Elis

Despite early-season sweep at hands of Bulldogs, Bears hope to finish Ivy schedule with flourish

By
Sports Staff Writer
Friday, October 24, 2014

Payton Smith ’17 and McKenna Webster ’16 rise up to block a spike. The team has excelled on the defensive side of the net, leading the Ivy League in digs and digs per set and averaging nearly a block and a half per set.

This weekend, the volleyball team has an opportunity to exact revenge against Yale — this time in Bulldog territory. Nearly a month ago, Yale swept Bruno in three games, and Friday, the Bears will seek to even the score.

“We are a very different team from the last time we played them,” said Assistant Coach Scott Blanchard. “We have a very balanced attack, and our defense is vastly improved.”

Yale comes into the match-up with a 10-6 record. “Yale is a very good team, and they don’t make many mistakes,” said Emma Thygesen ’17. This season, the Bulldogs have beaten every Ivy team except Harvard, and even against the Crimson, Yale fought back, slipping in a tight 3-2 loss.

As a team, they have more than doubled their opponents’ kills, total blocks and digs. But to rival Yale’s impressive statistics, the Bears come into the match as the League’s top defensive team. Coach Blanchard said they have pinpointed the Bulldogs’ weaknesses and will combat them “with a balanced attack and aggressive serving.”

Bruno will look to extend its winning streak to three this weekend after edging out Ivy rivals Columbia and Cornell in five sets last weekend. The women enjoyed an extra day off of physical practice this week, using the gained time to brush up on film. Thygesen said she believes last weekend’s wins will give the Bears the confidence they need to dominate the second half of their season.

With a total of 21 kills and 28 digs in last weekend’s matchups, Shirin Tooloee ’18 was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week. Tooloee became the first volleyball player to earn Rookie of the Week honors since Maddie Lord ’15 earned them in 2011. It was a big weekend for Lord as well, as she tallied her 1,000th career kill in Saturday’s game against Cornell.

The matchup against Yale marks a clean slate for the Bears, as the team gets one more shot at each conference team. “The word quit is not in their vocabulary,” Blanchard said.

Thygesen echoed this. The goal, she said, is “to win, play our best and keep intensity and energy through the entire match.”

Topics: