GAME NOTES: Yale Ready to Face Bowling Green in NCAA First-Round Match

Kendall Polan.(photo by Don Clark, Yale Sports Publicity)
Kendall Polan.(photo by Don Clark, Yale Sports Publicity)

Yale (18-5, 14-0) vs. Bowling Green (21-10, 13-3)

NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournament

West Lafayette Region - First Round

Friday, Nov. 30, 2012 - 5 p.m.

Rec Hall - University Park, Pa. 

Match Notes | Live Stats | Live Video 


Yale will face Bowling Green of the Mid-American Confernce in a NCAA First Round match today. It marks the first-ever match between the two schools. The Bulldogs (18-5, 14-0) went undefeated in the Ivy League to earn an automatic NCAA berth, while the Falcons (21-10, 13-3) won the MAC tournament to qualify for the Tournament. Yale won 15 straight matches to end the season, while Bowling Green won 17 out of 20.


Five-time national champion Penn State (29-2, 19-1) represents the tournament's No. 1 overall seed after winning its 15th Big 10 title. Binghamton (13-17, 8-4) won the America East tournament to earn its third-ever trip to the NCAAs. The Bearcats were swept by Penn State in its first two NCAA matches.


Today marks the fourth-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament for Yale, and its second con- secutive appearance. Last year, Yale dropped a first-round match to then No.1-ranked USC. The Bulldogs have won two of the only three victories by an Ivy League team in the NCAAs. In 2008, Yale defeated Ohio in five sets and lost, 3-0, to Penn State in the second round. In 2004, Yale hosted the NCAA first-and second-rounds, beat Albany, 3-1, in the first round and fell 3-0 to Minnesota in the second.


Yale won its third straight Ivy League championship and this year finished the conference season with a 14-0 record. The Bulldogs became the second team in conference history to finish a 14-game regular season schedule undefeated. This year's title also marks Yale's fourth in the last five years, and fifth in the last 10 – all under current head coach Erin Appleman.


The Bulldogs enter this week's play ranked among the nation's top-five in three team statistical categories: kills per set (2nd, 14.90), digs per set (2nd, 19.72) and assists per set (3rd, 13.90).


Junior Kendall Polan earned her second straight Ivy League Player of the Year award on Nov. 15. The honor marks the third major conference award for Polan, who also won conference rookie of the year in 2010. Polan became only the sixth player to win League Player of the Year twice and the second from Yale (Rosie Wustrack, 1996-97). Polan led the Bulldogs in assists and ranked fifth overall in the Ivy League. She also ranked third on the team in kills, hit .250 and ranked seventh in the conference in digs with a 4.12 average.


Yale freshman Kelly Johnson became the third straight Yale player to be named Ivy League Rookie of the Year. In conference matches, Johnson ranked in the Ivy League top 10 in kills (6th, 3.05), hitting percentage (7th, .324) and assists per set (9th, 5.54). She was the only conference player to rank in the top 10 in kills and hitting percentage. Johnson became the third straight Bulldog to win the award , joining Mollie Rogers (2011) and Kendall Polan (2010).


The Bulldogs feature five players who average over 2 kills per set. Mollie Rogers leads the team with a 3.00 kills per set average. Following Rogers are Kelly John- son (2.85), Haley Wessels (2.35, Kendall Polan (2.32) and Jesse Ebner (2.09).


Yale swept the Ivy League major postseason volleyball awards as junior setter Kendall Polan was named Player of the Year for the second straight season, while freshman setter Kelly Johnson was selected Rookie of the Year by the League's eight head coaches. This is the fourth time in school history that Yale has received both awards. Polan and Johnson were also both named first team All-Ivy, along with sophomore outside hitter Mollie Rogers. Senior team captain and middle blocker Haley Wessels and sophomore libero Maddie Rudnick were All-Ivy Second Team selections. Polan's award is her third consecutive Ivy League major post season honor as she was named Rookie of the Year in 2010. This year marked the second straight year the Bulldogs have earned five All-Ivy spots.


In her 10th season at the helm of the Yale volleyball team, Erin Appleman has established herself as one of the most accomplished coaches in the history of Ivy League volleyball. She has won five Ivy League Championships (2004, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012) and was the first volleyball coach in league history to guide a team to victory in an NCAA Championship match, a feat she accom- plished in both 2004 and 2008. The second-winningest coach in Yale history at 182-67 and her .730 winning percentage is the best all-time at Yale. In 2012, the Bulldogs completed the Ivy League regular season at 14-0 and became only the second school in conference history to do so. Appleman also earned her 100th conference victory after Yale's second conference match this season and has a career Ivy League mark of 112-28 with an .800 winning percentage. Last year, the Bulldogs went 18-7 and finished 12-2 in conference play. Yale made its third- ever appearance in the NCAA and faced then No. 1-ranked USC in Los Angeles, Calif. In 2010, the Bulldogs finished with a 12-2 conference mark and tied for first place in the Ivy League standings. At one point during the season, the Bulldogs won 10 straight Ivy matches and forced a one-match playoff against Penn. Five members of the team earned all-Ivy status, including Kendall Polan, who earned conference rookie of the year honors. Appleman led Yale to a 21-4 mark in 2009, the best record in program history and the first time the Bulldogs posted back-to- back 20-win seasons since 1995-96. The 2009 Yale team produced five All-Ivy players, including first team honorees Alexis Crusey and Cat Dailey, en route to claiming second place in the Ivy League at 11-3. Prior to Yale, Appleman was an assistant coach at Penn State for eight seasons. During her tenure at Happy Valley, the Nittany Lions went to five Final Fours and won the national title in 1999.


Kevin Laseau is in his ninth season on Erin Appleman's staff and the Bulldogs have won three straight Ivy League titles and five overall. Last year, the Bulldogs went 18-7 overall, finished 12-2 in Ivy play and faced then No. 1-ranked USC in the NCAA First Round. During 2010, the Bulldogs finished 12-2 in the Ivy League, won ten straight confernce matches at one point and tied for first in the confernce standings. Laseau helped coach five all-Ivy student-athletes that year. In 2009, Laseau helped lead the Bulldogs to the best record in program history at 21-4. Laseau was on the sidelines for the Bulldogs' 2004, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012 Ivy League Championships, along with its two NCAA Championship First-Round victories. Yale is 156-58 (.728) during Laseau's tenure, and has won at least 10 Ivy League matches in all nine of his seasons in New Haven. Laseau was promoted to associate head coach at Yale in 2008. Laseau came to the Elm City with over 20 years of national club coaching experience, which includes a National Junior Championship and three bronze medals in the 16-open division with the prestigious Munciana (Ind.) Volleyball club. As an assistant coach, Laseau helped guide the Munciana 16-open squad to a national title in 1997, a bronze medal in 1999, and a second-place finish at the AAU Nationals in 1989. Laseau became head coach in 2000 and led the team to back-to-back bronze medals in 2000 and 2001. In addition, he coached in all but one Junior Olympics tournament from 1987-2003.


Yale senior captain Haley Wessels not only represents one of the top blockers Yale history, she also has her own online weekly show on the Yale Athletics Website. The show, entitled Hangin' With Haley, is co-hosted with Yale associate head coach Kevin Laseau. The show offers a student-athlete perspective of the team on and off the court. Wessels leads the Bulldogs in blocks this season with and ranks ninth all-time in program history in total blocks.


Sophomore libero Maddie Rudnick led the Bulldogs with 376 on the season and earned All-Ivy Second Team honors. The libero ranked third overall in the conference with a 4.76 per set average in digs. The Bulldogs ranked second in the nation in digs per set.


Yale's 14-0 record in the Ivy League capped the most successful run in program history with a 49-7 record since 2009. The Bulldogs have won three straight conference titles, Yale went 12-2 in both 2011 and 2010, and finished the 2009 season with an 11-3 mark.


Junior Kendall Polan served up a conference season-best seven aces in a 3-0 win over Dartmouth on Nov. 10. The total marked the highest amount of service aces by any player on an Ivy League team in a match this season.


The Bulldogs have won 25 straight regular season home matches in Ivy League play. Yale's last regular season home loss to an Ivy League team was Oct. 10, 2009 in a five-set match against Penn. The Bulldogs are 45-5 overall at home since 2009.


Yale's schedule this year included four NCAA Tournament qualifiers from 2011. The Bulldogs played Texas A&M, San Diego, American and Stony Brook -- all of which made the NCAAs last year. Yale also faced Northwestern of the Big 10, which had eight teams in the RPI's top 40 in 2011.