Volleyball splits weekend slate v. Yale, Brown

by Kourtney Kawano | 10/5/14 3:40pm

10-6-14-sports-vhoriz-kelsey-kittelsen
10.6.14.sports.vhoriz
by Kelsey Kittelsen / The Dartmouth

The volleyball team finished the weekend at home with a five-set win over Brown University and a straight-set loss against Yale University. On Friday, the Big Green (11-3, 2-1 Ivy) came back to beat the Bears (6-9, 1-2 Ivy) in five sets, but could not carry the momentum into Saturday evening’s game against Yale (6-6, 2-1 Ivy).

Yale is the four-time defending Ivy League champion and has only dropped five Ancient Eight contests in those four years. The Bulldogs dropped a five-setter on the road at Harvard University Friday night for their first Ivy loss of the year.

On Friday, teams started the match with back-and-forth play before Dartmouth broke away on a 4-0 run in the middle of the first set, which ended 25-17 in favor of Dartmouth.

Sets two and three featured improved defense by the Bears as they managed comeback wins, 25-23 and 25-20, despite late runs by the Big Green.

Brown also started strong in the intense fourth set with a run that put the team ahead, 16-10. Dartmouth fought back and claimed the lead at 20-18 with a service ace by Lucia Pohlman ’15 and a kill by Paige Caridi ’16. Determined to end the game, the Bears responded with three straight points but were denied by three kills and a combined block by Emily Astarita ’17 that ended the set 26-24.

The fifth set was neck and neck until Dartmouth broke through and went up 13-7. Brown came as close as one point thanks to a five-point run of its own, but the Big Green sealed its victory, 15-12, with a kill by Sara Lindquist ’18 and an ace by Julia Lau ’17.

Caridi led the match with 19 kills, while Astarita added 16 and Kaira Lujan ’16 finished with 11. Dartmouth out-blocked Brown 15-6.

Saturday’s match saw Dartmouth pitted against the Yale Bulldogs, who swept the Big Green, 3-0.

The first set began evenly. But the Bulldogs gained momentum and tied the set three times before capturing the lead with a 7-0 run that put them up 24-17. The Big Green could get within four points before Yale closed the set at 25-21.

The Bulldogs’ use of tip shots continued to stump the home team in set two, as they took a commanding lead off of a 4-0 run. The Bulldogs maintained that lead, as kills by Pohlman and Molly Kornfeind ’17 brought Dartmouth within four points at 20-16. This surge was short lived as Yale answered with a convincing offense that closed the set at 18-25.

The third set also started closely as the Big Green took a 4-3 lead before the Bulldogs surged ahead, winning 10 of the next 12 points to take a 13-6 lead. Dartmouth came within two points of Yale after a block by Pohlman and Alex Schoenberger ’15 brought the score to 17-15, but a late 7-0 run by the Bulldogs increased the score disparity to nine as a Yale kill ended the game, 25-16.

No one on the home team scored in double digit kills. Astarita finished with eight, while Caridi contributed seven and Kornfeind added six.

The Big Green could only manage a .104 kill percentage, including a .068 mark in the third set. The Big Green’s 31 team kills were offset by 19 errors. By contrast, Yale posted a .272 percentage with 47 kills to 16 errors.

“Our team just didn’t execute as well as we wanted to tonight,” said Lau, who finished the game with 14 digs.

Dartmouth finished with seven team blocks to Yale’s four, and Kayden Cook ’16 led the team with 18 assists while Stacey Benton ’17 added nine.

This was the first Ivy loss for the Big Green, whose league season kicked off last week.

“An early loss isn’t going to affect us in the big picture, as long as the team comes back in practice,” head coach Erin Lindsey said. “We have to get better every day, and that’s where our resilience comes in with the mindset that we have to do that.”

The team is looking ahead to get back into the top spot in the Ancient Eight but faces the challenge of playing two away games this week.

“We know what it means to be on the road,” Lau said. “We know how to play in different settings, so I think this will be a chance for good playing and good competition.”

The team will travel to New York for a weekend doubleheader against Columbia University on Friday and Cornell University on Saturday.

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