Sept. 29, 2006
Providence, RI - With one game in the books and a raucous crowd cheering the Brown volleyball team (3-9, 0-1) on, it looked like the Bears were in good shape to open the Ivy League season with a victory. In fact, even after Yale won the second game, a late Bears rally had the Pizzitola Center crowd fired up. However, things turned sour quickly for Bruno, as Yale dominated the third and fourth games of the match, handing the Bears a 3-1 loss to open Ivy play, 27-30, 32-30, 30-7, 30-19.
In the pivotal third game, the Bulldogs rode two long runs chock full of Brown errors to a quick, easy victory. Yale opened the game with a 9-0 run that it extended to 11-1, during which the Bears made three attack errors, had a bad set, hit into two blocks, and gave up a service ace. The game ended with a crushing 12-0 run for the Bulldogs, during which Brown made a service error, four attack errors, and hit into three Yale blocks.
The Bulldogs' Ally Mendenhall served during both runs. For the game, Yale only needed 11 kills, as Brown's hitting percentage was a -.257. The fourth game was not as extreme as the third, but two shorter runs, a 5-0 one early and a 9-0 one late, sealed the Bears' fate.
The first game showed a much more efficient Brown attack. The importance of an Ivy League game was apparent, as the two teams battled for each point. With the game tied as late as 26-26, the energized Pizzitola crowd carried the Bears to a 30-27 win. In game two, with Yale serving game point at 29-24, the crowd nearly pushed Bruno all the way back to a win, as the Bears tied it back up at 29-29 and 30-30 before Yale finally put them away.
For the match, the Bears' hitting percentage was just .062, even with reasonable percentages of .188 and .196 in the first two games. Senior co-captain Shawn-Elyse Tulac (Claremont, CA) led Brown and tied for the match high with 16 kills, adding 17 digs. Junior libero Katie Lapinski (Niles, IL) had a match-high 25 digs, many of them of the spectacular, diving variety. Setter Natalie Meyers (Huntington, CA) had 38 assists and 13 digs.
Saturday, the two teams will go at it again, this time in New Haven, Conn., at 4 p.m.