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Ivy League Champions Welcome Five In Class of 2016

Gina Finke and Gabby Bird-Vogel. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Gina Finke and Gabby Bird-Vogel. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

All Bring Strong Credentials To New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Head Coach Erin Appleman will welcome a talented new class of Bulldogs to the volleyball program in 2012. Jesse Ebner, Karlee Fuller, Kelly Johnson, Maya Midzik and Christine Wu will look to make an impact this fall as Yale begins the defense of its 2011 Ivy League Championship.

Ebner, a 6-0 middle from Portola Valley, Calif., has competed at a high level for many years as a member of Vision Volleyball Club and Sacred Heart Prep. She helped SHP collect two straight CIF Central Coast Section Division IV championships and was named to the all-tournament team for the 2010 state championship. After her team captured the 2011 WBAL championship, Ebner was named to the WBAL All-League First Team, as well as Mercury News All-San Mateo County First Team. At Vision, her team was fifth at Junior Olympics her junior year and snagged a bronze medal her sophomore year. 

Fuller, a 6-0 outside hitter from Olivenhain, Calif., will be the third Yalie to hail from La Costa Canyon High School in Carlsbad, Calif. As an outside for the Mavericks, Fuller was a starter while leading the team to a second place finish in the prestigious Durango Tournament and runner-up in the CIF State Girls Division II state championship. Her senior year she was team captain. A member of Wave Volleyball, her 16-under team finished seventh at Junior Olympics in 2010, and her 17-under team finished 10th. 

Johnson, a 6-2 setter from Palos Verdes, Calif., was a four-time All Bay League selection, including First Team as a junior and senior. She was named MVP of her Palos Verdes H.S. team her sophomore, junior and senior year, and team captain her junior and senior year. As a member of Mizuno Long Beach, Johnson has competed in the Open division of Junior Olympics. She was also named to the All-Area team twice. Johnson has her woman's AA beach rating and has medaled and won in numerous AAU and CBVA events.

Midzik marks the first Appleman recruit from the state of Massachusetts. Midzik was named to the High School All-America Special Mention Team in 2012. She was also named Most Improved Player for Brookline High School in 2008, and a League First Team All-Star in 2009. As a junior and senior, Midzik was team MVP and captain. Playing for SMASH Volleyball Club, she was a starter for her 17s team that won the New England Regionals and a bid to Junior Olympics. Midzik was also a member of the USAV High Performance squad that won a bronze at the USAV HP Championships. 

Wu, a libero from Naperville, Ill., was a three-time Academic All-Conference selection for Naperville North High School, including being the libero for the 2009 Dupage Valley Conference and Regional champion teams, and co-captain of the 2011 Dupage Valley Conference Champions. As a libero for Sports Performance Volleyball, her team won the Bronze Medal at the 15 Club Division at the AAU National Championships, and was Silver Bracket Champions in the 18s division at the JVA World Nationals. This year her club team has also finished fifth at the Wisconsin Dells Showcase and third at the Indy Jrs. Invite.

The talented group will join a Yale squad that is coming off back-to-back Ivy League championships. The 2011 squad, which featured Ivy League Player of the Year Kendall Polan and Rookie of the Year Mollie Rogers, finished 12-2 in the Ivy League, 18-7 overall. The Bulldogs advanced to the NCAA Tournament where they were eliminated by No. 1-ranked USC.