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Bulldogs Travel to UConn for Dog Pound Challenge

Kate Swanson (photo credit: Steve Musco)
Kate Swanson (photo credit: Steve Musco)

The Bulldogs will aim to keep their season-opening win streak going this weekend at the University of Connecticut Dog Pound Challenge. 

Yale defeated Albany, Iona and Rutgers to open the season 3-0 for the first time since 2010, which was the first year of five straight Ivy League titles for the Bulldogs.

Awards from Last Weekend

Sophomore Kelley Wirth was named Yale Invitational MVP, and on Monday was awarded Ivy League Player of the Week honors.  Junior Kaitlyn Gibbons and senior Brittani Steinberg were also named to the all-tournament team. 

Wirth (24 kills), Gibbons (19 kills) and Steinberg (22 digs) all reached career-highs in a match last weekend.  

Team Defense 

The defense also stepped up last weekend for the Bulldogs, who collected 82 digs in the opener against Albany.  That was the largest total for a three-set match for Yale since a victory against Penn on Nov. 4, 2011. Sophomore Kate Swanson leads the team in digs per set (4.09) over the team's first three matches. 

Freshmen Firsts 

The Bulldogs also received a lift from their freshmen early in the season.  Tristin Kott notched 11 kills with a solo block and block assist in a five-set win over Rutgers in her first collegiate weekend, while Franny Arnautou had 44 assists.  Classmates Izzy Simqu and Rebekah Nemeth both had two kills.   

The Dog Pound Challenge

This weekend's tournament will also look to make a difference by teaming up with UConn's Sigma Alpha Sorority to collect donations to benefit local animal shelters. Donations will be accepted during the tournament or by visiting www.gofundme.com/eaanimalshelter.

This Weekend's Opponents

St. Francis-Brooklyn (Friday, 12 p.m.) - The Terriers have started the season 3-5, and are coming off a 2-1 weekend last week with wins over Quinnipiac and Fordham.  Domenique Gerard leads the team in kills (75) and is second in digs with 81. 

UConn (Friday, 7 p.m.) - The Huskies are off to a 4-1 start, including wins over LSU, Virginia and Syracuse.  Their loss came to Southern Miss.  Outside hitter and All-American Preseason Team player Jade Strawberry leads the team with 3.41 kills per set.

Loyola-Maryland  (Saturday, 11 a.m.) - The Greyhounds are off to a 2-2 start following a 3-1 loss to George Washington on Sept. 6.  Freshman Ann Ernst leads the Patriot League with 4.71 kills per set.

Report filed by Ernie Bertothy, Yale Sports Publicity