Women's Volleyball: Bulldogs hand Princeton 1st league defeat
The women’s volleyball team came out firing against Yale on Friday, taking the first set from the defending champions, but the Bulldogs rebounded to hand Princeton its first Ivy League loss. The following day, the Tigers (9-8 overall, 6-1 Ivy League) dropped Brown 3-0 to remain firmly in second place halfway through conference play.
With the momentum of a five-game winning streak behind them, Princeton looked great in the first set in New Haven, Conn., as its strong defensive play provided a lot of hitting opportunities.
“We were serving aggressively, and we did a great job going after every ball,” freshman libero Sarah Daschbach said.
Daschbach had a match-high 25 digs and earned her first kill of the season on Friday. The rookie has settled into the libero role nicely and proves to be a major asset on defense, constantly diving for loose balls.
After taking the first set 25-22, the Tigers held a 21-19 lead late in the second, but the Bulldogs (11-5, 7-0) won six of the last seven points to take the set.
“We lost a lot of energy on our side,” Daschbach said. “Their energy was picking up right as ours was slipping. That set got away from us quickly.”
Yale never looked back after winning the second set, taking the next two 25-19 and 25-22. In crunch time, Yale stepped up and played its best volleyball.
Friday’s victory gave the Bulldogs sole possession of first place in the Ivy League. Princeton dropped into second place with its first conference loss of the season.
The loss was particularly tough for the team because of how much weight was riding on the highly anticipated game. While the team meeting afterwards had a solemn tone, the players tried to put the defeat in perspective.
“We talked about how bad it felt to lose and how we can channel our frustration into energy for the next time we play them,” Daschbach said.
The Tigers did not let the emotional loss affect them in Saturday’s game at Brown, where they beat up on the Bears for a straight-set victory, 25-17, 25-20, 25-14.
The Tigers got back to their game plan behind the offensive firepower of senior outside hitter Lydia Rudnick. Rudnick had a match-high 17 kills, giving her a total of 37 for the weekend. Junior middle blocker Leah Jordan had one of her best games of the season, posting 12 kills with a hitting percentage of .733.
Princeton can now look forward to a five-game home stand against conference opponents over the next three weeks. The Tigers have their eyes on a rematch with Yale, which will visit Dillon Gymnasium on Nov. 3 in a game that may determine the Ivy League champion.
“Home-court advantage really makes a big difference,” Daschbach said. “[The Bulldogs] fed off of the energy of their fans. When we are in Dillon, it makes a big difference, having the home crowd on our side.”
Princeton improved to 9-8 with its victory over Brown, and it will try to continue its Ivy League success as it plays each conference opponent for the second time, beginning on Friday against Penn. The Tigers won a tough five-set match against the Quakers in September.
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