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Meet The Class of 2021: Five Join Yale Roster

Meet The Class of 2021: Five Join Yale Roster

All Bring Strong Credentials

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Head coach Jen Goodwin has welcomed five newcomers to the Yale softball team this fall. Sydney Grobman, Olivia Lee, Miranda Papes, Kortney Ponce and Phylicia Wilkov bring strong credentials.

"I'm so excited to welcome these five athletes to the Yale Softball family," Goodwin said. "Kortney, Miranda, Phylicia, Olivia and Sydney all bring something special to our program, and I'm excited to get to work with them. The 2021's can have an immediate impact and help us chase the Ivy League title this season and for several years to come. Their drive to win matches the team's desire to get to the top of the league."

Here is a closer look at the Class of 2021:

Sydney Grobman
Coral Springs, Florida
American Heritage Plantation
Goal Coast Hurricanes

Before Yale: Earned all-state honors at American Heritage Plantation… Batted .474 in her career with a .777 slugging percentage and nine home runs… Two-time all-county selection… Helped lead American Heritage to the 2014 Class 5A state championship and three state runner-up finishes… 2017 Broward County Scholar Athlete of the Year… Scholarship and Athletic Achievement Award from Charity For Champions organization… Captain of the 2016-17 Gold Coast Hurricanes travel team, which finished seventh at the ASA nationals.

Personal: Part of South Florida's challenger league, which teaches special needs children to play baseball and softball… Volunteered at a local hospital… Loves music and singing… Daughter of Faith and Seth Grobman.

Why Yale? "I selected Yale because it is my dream to play the sport I love at a university that offers the highest level of academia. Despite the fact that Yale is able to offer me everything I could possibly look for in a school, I knew it in my gut that it was the right place for me. Every time I visited Yale, I felt like I belonged."

Goodwin On Grobman: "Sydney is a power hitter who can play the corners, and is equally as strong behind the plate. She has pop to all fields. I see her helping increase our team's power numbers throughout her career."

Olivia Lee
Los Angeles, California
Notre Dame Academy
So Cal Athletics-Briggs

Before Yale: Played for the Great Britain National U19 team at the 2017 World Championships in Clearwater, Florida… Won a gold medal, the first medal ever for a Great Britain softball team, at the 2016 European Championships in Barcelona… Two-time first team all-league selection at Notre Dame Academy… Batted .473 and only struck out one time during a season at Notre Dame… Defensive Player of the Year… Notre Dame qualified for state championships three times during her tenure… Reipient of the Peterson Award for excellence in academics, athletics and sportsmanship… Played travel ball for the So. Cal Athletics-Briggs, who qualified for the PGF Premiere national championships.

Personal: Dual citizen of United States and Great Britain… Father is British… Senior Counselor for the Association of Catholic Student Councils, teaches leadership to middle school students… Ambassador for Notre Dame Academy with prospective students, parents and the community… Daugher of Kristin and Jason Lee.

Why Yale? "Yale became my first choice the second I stepped on campus. Growing up in Los Angeles, I was looking for a school in a place that had seasons and a real collegial feel. Obviously, Yale's academic reputation spoke for itself. Sitting down with the coaches and having the girls show me around the gym after watching them practice, I felt an immediate connection and felt like I was `home.'"

Goodwin On Lee: "Olivia is a well-trained catcher who spent the summer playing for the Great Britain Jr. National team. Her experience competing at that level the past two summers gives her an edge coming into fall ball."

Miranda Papes
Frisco, Texas
Ursuline Academy of Dallas
Impact Gold Carpenter

Before Yale: Three-time first team all-state selection at Ursuline Academy of Dallas… District most valuable player and pitcher of the year as a senior… Named to all-district first team four times… Batted .554 with 213 hits and 150 RBI in her career… As a pitcher had 618 strikeouts and 37 walks… Team captain as a senior… 2017 Ursuline Academy Scholar Athlete of the Year… Two-time academic all-state selection… Played for the Impact Gold Carpenter travel team, which placed second at the 2015 ASA nationals.

Personal: Participated in National Charity League with her mother for six years… Mother Kim was on dance team at Arizona State and cheered for the Phoenix Cardinals in 1989. Was also on the dance team at Iowa and was a cheerleader for the Chicago Bulls… Father Jason was a wide receiver at Wake Forest… Grandfather played lacrosse at Ohio State.

Why Yale? "Not only was I attracted to the outstanding athletic department, but I was drawn to the diversity of the students and the picturesque campus. I knew that Yale had a special atmosphere that I wanted to be a part of, not only for the welcoming athletic community, but for the community as a whole. I also have a bulldog named Cheese and always wanted to hangout with Handsome Dan."

Goodwin On Papes: "Miranda is a top-notch pitcher and will be a workhorse for us in the circle. She played at a high level and her softball IQ will make for a smooth transition to the Division I level."

Kortney Ponce
Escondido, California
San Pasqual High School
Lakewood Firecrackers

Before Yale: Four-year starter for San Pasqual High School… Batted .375 with a .700 slugging percentage in her career… Recipient of Eagle Heart Award, the team's top softball award as a senior… Two-time winner of the team's Coaches Award… Team captain as both a junior and senior… Four-year Scholar Athlete… Received the school's Golden Eagle Award, presented to the female who demonstrated excellence in academics, athletics and activities… Starting shortstop for four straight years on Premier PGF qualifying Lakewood Firecrackers 18 Gold travel team.

Personal: Volunteer coach for Powerline Athletics Softball Clinics… Daughter of Chris and Kelly Ponce.

Why Yale? "I chose Yale to be continually inspired to aim higher and push harder, both on the softball field and in the classroom. The chance to maintain both academic and athletic rigor while being surrounded by a diverse community of individuals united by the similar tenacity to excel is an opportunity I felt only Yale could offer me. I am eager to immerse myself in an environment that I know will constantly encourage and challenge me to grow, to learn and to motivate myself to become a better and stronger student, athlete and individual."

Goodwin On Ponce: "Kortney is a powerful force at the plate, and she covers a lot of ground on the left side of the infield. The energy and confidence she brings to the field every day make her a lot of fun to watch."

Phylicia Wilkov
Holland, Pennsylvania
Council Rock South
Philadelphia Spirit

Before Yale: First team all-league and four-year varsity starter at Council Rock South High School… Named Most Valuable Player… Recipient of Coach's Award… Team captain… Bucks County Courier Times 2017 Golden Team selection… Council Rock South and Courier-Kiwanis Scholar Athlete Award recipient… Team captain for the Philadelphia Spirit 18U Gold travel team.

Personal: Active volunteer for non-profit organizations that support individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities… Mother Michelle (Cummins) Wilkov (Class of 1990) was captain of the Yale field hockey team… Father is Matt Wilkov.

Why Yale? "Because of its exceptional academics, strong athletic programs and diverse student body. I am excited to be able to play collegiate softball while receiving an outstanding education."

Goodwin On Wilkov: "Phylicia is a solid athlete who brings a lot of versatility to the lineup. No one will outwork her, and her competitive fire and smooth glove give her multiple options to fight for a spot."

Report filed by Tim Bennett (, Yale Sports Publicity