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ON CAMPUS A look at the area college sports scene

Friday, December 5, 2008

Yale wins opener; Penn State next

Ohio dominated on the stat sheet but it is the Yale volleyball team which advanced to face defending national champion Penn State on the Nittany Lions home court on Saturday with a rousing 3-2 win in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Ellen Herman was easily the best player on the floor but had some costly hitting errors in the third and fifth sets as Yale emerged with a 25-19, 23-25, 25-23, 17-25, 15-13 victory.

Herman had 32 kills and a hitting percentage of .312, both truly remarkable numbers. The Bobcats went to Herman early and often as she had 46 percent of Ohio's hitting opportunities. As a point of reference, Yale went to Cat Dailey 36 percent of the time.

Herman had 32 kills and 13 digs for Ohio, which had more kills, assists, digs and blocks but the number which really stood out was Ohio's 20 service errors. The serving, hitting and setting errors as well as one illegal substitution call by the mistake-prone accounted for 12 of Yale's 25 points in the pivotal third set.

Dailey led Yale with 20 kills but it was Alexis Crusey who had the most timely kills. On match point, Crusey's perfectly-placed shot fell between three Ohio players.

"I couldn't be prouder of my team. I thought we really played well as a team, I thought we outplayed a really good team defensively," Yale coach Erin Appleman said. "The outhit, outblocked us, outdug us but we were able to gut it out. That is what this team has done all year is find a way."

Their reward is facing a squad being touted as perhaps the best in women's college volleyball history on its home court. Yale played at Penn State on Sept. 19 and suffered its first loss of the season 25-7, 25-13, 25-16.

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