Polan Wins Player of Year for Second Straight Season
NEW HAVEN - Junior Kendall Polan earned Ivy League Player of the Year honors for the second straight season and freshman Kelly Johnson became the third straight Yale volleyball player to earn conference rookie of the year, the Ivy League office announced on Thursday.
Five Bulldogs earned All-Ivy status following Yale's first undefeated conference season in women's volleyball. Sophomore Mollie Rogers earned first-team All-Ivy along with Johnson and Polan, while senior team captain Haley Wessels and sophomore Maddie Rudnick were awarded second-team honors.
"I'm so thrilled for the team," Yale head coach Erin Appleman said. "They worked hard all year and it's nice to see the league recognize their accomplishments."
Polan (Cardiff, Calif.), a unanimous selection to the All-Ivy First Team, led the Bulldogs to just the second 14-0 mark in League history and played in all 79 sets during the regular season. She averaged a team-best 7.47 assists per set, ranked third on the team with 183 kills and added a 4.12 digs per set, which ranked seventh-best in the league.
"I'm really happy to see Kendall named player of the year again," Appleman said. "She continues to be our rock on the court."
Since the award began in 1987, Polan is the sixth to win League Player of the Year award twice and the fifth to do it in consecutive seasons.
Johnson (Palos Verdes, Calif.) was selected the Ivy League Rookie of the Year. In conference matches, Johnson ranked among the conference top-10 in kills per set (6th, 3.05), hitting percentage (7th, .324), points per set (8th, 3.49) and assists per set (9th, 5.54).
"Kelly had a fantastic year," Appleman said. "To have as much impact freshman year as she did is a great accomplishment."
Johnson and Polan combined for more than 1,000 assists this season for the Bulldogs, who rank third in the nation as a team in assists per set at 13.9.
Johnson's honor marked the third straight year that a Bulldog has won top rookie honors in the Ancient Eight, joining Polan (2010) and Rogers (2011).
Rogers (San Diego, Calif.) won a first-team All-Ivy spot for the second straight year. She led the Bulldogs with 237 kills and finished seventh in the Ivy League with a 3.04 per set average in conference matches. In addition, she placed second on the team with 313 digs and a 3.96 per set average.
Wessels (Dallas, Texas) earned her second All-Ivy selection with the other coming in 2010. She led the team and ranked fifth in the conference with a .332 hitting percentage, while also providing a team-best 67 total blocks.
Rudnick (Encinitas, Calif.) led the Bulldogs with 376 digs on the season after playing in all 79 sets. The libero ranked third overall in the conference with a 4.76 per set average in digs.
"Having five players honored as All-Ivy speaks to the talent of this team and the unbelievable season we have had," Appleman said.
The Bulldogs will make their second straight and fourth overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The 64-team field will be announced on Sunday, Nov. 25 at 4 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
Report filed by Ernie Bertothy, Yale Sports Publicity