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Women's volleyball misses second chance to win against Bulldogs

An aggressive Yale bested Brown 3-0 for the second time this season after a 20-match Ivy winning streak

An enthusiastic Saturday evening crowd at the Pizzitola Center was abuzz with anticipation as the Bears faced the Yale Bulldogs.

“We went in excited for the opportunity for a great upset,” said Thea Derrough ’14. Yale (14-3, Ivy 8-0) is the defending Ivy League champion and came into the match with a 20-match Ivy winning streak. The last time these teams met was at the start of the Bears’ (8-11, 4-4) Ivy season over a month ago, when the Bulldogs bested Bruno. The scene was repeated Saturday as the Bulldogs defeated the Bears 3-0.

“When you play another team again, they know what to expect and you know what to expect, so in practice, we try to change up our plays so Yale doesn’t get too comfortable and we don’t get too predictable,” Derrough said.

Yale was significantly more aggressive than the Bears, racking up 44 kills.

“They have an offense that is pretty unstoppable — their setter has been player of the year for a couple of years now, and they have attackers that can put them down,” Derrough said.

“They better the ball well,” said Head Coach Diane Short. Bettering the ball refers to the second hit on an exchange. A team that betters the ball well will be able to improve from a bad first pass, allowing for a good spike.

Both teams exhibited excellent play in the first set.

“In the first set, we made some adjustments right away,” Short said. “We changed our defense pretty soon on.”

These adjustments paid off as the Bears took off to an 11-4 lead in the first game. Despite Bruno’s high level of play, the Bulldogs demonstrated their unwavering confidence and gritty determination by sticking to their offensive game plan and battling back to take the first set 25-21.

Bruno began to unravel in the second set, and Yale continued its sharp play to win the set 25-14.

“In the second set, we let them get runs of points that we did not allow in the first and third,” Derrough said. As Yale was building momentum, the Bears appeared frustrated.

“We needed to try and get a little more strength from our teammates instead of from the individual,” Short said. In the second, the Bulldogs offense excelled with 17 kills to the Bears’ four. While Bruno was uncertain how to crack Yale’s defensive code, the Bulldogs saw the court extremely well and executed crisp passing. Yale’s strong defense and powerful offense left the Bears’ side of the court looking large.

Bruno tried desperately to bear down and hold on in the match with multiple acrobatic saves in the third set, creating some aerobic points as players from both teams dove across the court.

“We won some of the long rallies that we didn’t have the drive to win in the second,” Derrough said. These longer points helped the Bears temporarily weather Yale’s offensive storm and provided some good opportunities for counterattacks.

Bruno demonstrated its variety by mixing up the pace of its spikes contrasting deep drives with short placements. As fatigue set in, service errors from both teams increased. Yale ultimately emerged the victor 25-21.

Short said she sees this loss as a learning experience, saying the team could improve on basic performance metrics such as passing under pressure and serving tougher.

Next weekend the Bears travel to take on Harvard and Dartmouth. “We are a better team now than when we played them last time, so it’s good to know that we beat them last time and that we have kept improving,” Derrough said.


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