After a fervent weekend of Ivy League play, Princeton women’s volleyball solidified a second-place standing within the Ivy League Conference. On Friday evening, the Tigers fell 0–3 to the undefeated Yale Bulldogs. Last season, Princeton and Yale ended the Ivy Conference with a matching 13–1 record, only having lost to each other. The following day, on Saturday afternoon, Princeton responded by promptly defeating the Brown Bears 3–1.
The weekend’s first match against Yale began with an early Bulldogs 5–18 lead. The Tigers gained some momentum and minimized the gap to 13–24, but it was already too late. Yale took the first set 13–25.
Though the Tigers played well in the second set, the Bulldogs played a near-perfect game. The Tigers snatched their first point of the set at 1–4 after subbing in senior outside hitter Maya Satchell. An exciting rally at 3–8 showed that both teams were prepared to play at a high level for the stakes of the match, but, almost cathartically, Yale secured the point with an untouched setter dump. Despite a solid set from sophomore right-side Valerie Nutakor, who produced consistent blocks and hits, the Tigers fell 16–25.
In the middle stages of the final set, the Tigers mounted a comeback against the Bulldogs, but fell short in the end. After miscommunication by the Tigers gifted the Bulldogs an ace at 2–5, Princeton continued to make errors while hitting to give Yale a massive lead. While the Tigers were able to close the gap to 10–11, Yale soon gained a substantial lead.
Sophomore middle blocker Lucia Scalamandre had an incredibly strong set, landing the handful of spikes that Princeton could dispatch. Yale gained set point with a complete miss by Princeton, and ultimately completed the set with a massive hit. Yale took the final set 19–25.
Saturday’s game, however, went quite differently for the Tigers. The Bears won five consecutive points to gain a 3–9 lead early in the first set, causing concern about whether Princeton would be able to take the lead back. They could not, and Brown earned a 16–25 first set victory. It seemed as if Princeton would not be able to come back from Friday night’s tough loss.
In the second set, the Tigers were able to gain the lead early, but Brown fought on. This set was close and consisted of many long rallies and ping-pong points. Brown was up 21–23, but the Tigers thwarted their chances to convert to a set point. Princeton managed to close it out with a nerve-wracking score of 25–23, ultimately tying up the match 1–1.
Princeton only improved from that point on, and the remainder of the match went sideways for Brown despite a set lead in the early stages of the game. The Tigers opened the third set with a 7–1 lead and finished the set winning 25–21. The final set was a blowout Tigers win of 25–12.
This weekend has cemented Princeton’s second place spot in the the Ivy League Conference standings, sandwiched between Yale at the top and Brown in third. The Ivy League Championships are approaching fast, now just two weeks ahead.
Josefina Gurevich is a contributor to the Sports section of the ‘Prince.’
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