Volleyball splits final series of 2006

by Luke Mann-O'Halloran | 11/13/06 6:00am

Women's volleyball ends season on high note with win over Brown after the team lost to Yale the previous night.
by Zakieh Bigio / The Dartmouth

The Big Green looked good in the first game of the Yale match, staying close to the higher-ranked Bulldogs throughout the game as neither team led by more than four. At 28-28, a questionable call gave Yale the serve and the Bulldogs seized the opportunity, taking the game 30-28.

Dartmouth did not fare as well in the second and third games of the match, losing both at 12-30 and 20-30. The Big Green's offense suffered, as Dartmouth could only manage a .108 attack percentage in the second game while hitting a dismal -.047 in the third.

Defense was also a problem for the Big Green women, who could not stop Yale outside hitter Alexis Crusey from notching 18 kills in the match, twice as many as the next-most dangerous Yale hitter.

Dartmouth fans had a scare on Saturday as Brown took the first game in a marathon battle that ended at 30-27. The teams were close throughout the first frame before Brown went on a four-point tear to take a 24-21 lead. The women in green were unable to bridge the three-point gap.

The second game was another close contest, with neither team gaining much of an advantage until a tie at 28-28. Brown could not handle the pressure of closing out the game, however, and committed two straight hitting errors to give the game to Dartmouth. The Big Green came out hard in the third game, proving they did not need unforced errors to beat the Bears, as they went up 7-1 and 15-6 before taking the game 30-21.

The home team rallied in the fourth game, jumping out to a 7-15 lead. Dartmouth recovered with a pair of runs that put the Big Green up by two at 19-17. Strong fan support kept the Bears alive, as Brown answered by tying the game at 22 before going on an 8-1 tear to take the game. The final frame of the contest was another tight battle, but Dartmouth came away with the 15-12 victory in the end.

"It all came down to heart. We wanted it more than they did and honestly our desire and intensity won that final game for us," Hirsch said.

Dartmouth is currently in fifth place in the Ivy League. The match between No. 3 Princeton and No. 4 University of Pennsylvania on Wednesday will determine whether Dartmouth will share fourth place with Penn or remain in fifth.

"This season was a great experience, said Hirsch. "We didn't finish as high as we had hoped to, but we took big steps forward for our program."

Fortunately for fans of Dartmouth volleyball, the team is fairly young; Nadine Parris '06 will be the only player graduating this year. With five starters returning next year and promising freshmen like Morgan Covington '10, Amanda Marston '10 and Megan MacGregor '10 already making important contributions, the future of Dartmouth women's volleyball looks bright.