NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Head coach Erin Appleman announced the incoming freshman class that will join the Yale volleyball program this coming fall, as the Bulldogs look to defend their back-to-back-to-back Ivy League Championships. And for the fifth year in a row, Yale has been honored by PrepVolleyball.com for having one of the nation's best recruiting classes. The Bulldogs are the only Ivy League program to be recognized every year for the past five years.
Claire Feeley, Tori Shepherd, Brittani Steinberg and Lucy Tashman will join the program this fall. Appleman says that all four can contribute immediately.
"I think this class is the right mix of talent, athletic ability and skill that will allow us to continue to our goals of being the best on and off the court," Appleman said.
A 6'1" middle blocker from Honolulu, Feeley hails from Punahou High School and Ku'ikahi Volleyball Club. Her high school team was back-to-back state champions in her junior and senior seasons, and Feeley was named All-State Honorable Mention as a senior, as well as ILH All-Star second team, and All-Tournament at the prestigious Ann Kang Tournament. Feeley was also All-State and All-Star Honorable Mention as a junior. Playing for Ku'ikahi, Feeley helped her team qualify for the Open division for the past four years, capturing second in the 16 Open division in 2011 and fifth in 15 Open in 2010. Feeley has also been a member of the Outrigger Canoe Club since 2007.
Appleman's read on Feeley: "I feel that Feeley gives us that great offensive weapon with fantastic athletic ability. And being from volleyball-rich Hawaii, Claire has solid ball handling skills."
A 5'4" libero from Los Angeles, Shepherd is a product of Marymount High School and Sunshine Volleyball Club. She was named Most Valuable Senior and team captain for Marymount in 2012, as the team won the CIF-SS Div 1 and California Div 1 Championships. Along the way she was all-tournament at the Durango Fall Classic, first team All SoCal SCVR for VolleyballNow.Net, and one of PrepVolleyball's top 150 Senior Aces. In addition, Marymount was Sunshine League Champions three out of her four years. As a libero at national power Sunshine Volleyball, her club teams have competed in the Open division of Junior Olympics every year since seventh grade, capturing numerous qualifier titles as well. Shepherd was also a two-time selection as one of PrepVolleyball's Defensive Dandies, a list of the top libero/defensive players in the nation.
Appleman's read on Shepherd: "Shepherd's work ethic and drive are phenomenal. She tops that off with being super-quick, athletic, and having played at the highest high school and club levels, giving her volleyball experience that would put her on the top of anyone's recruiting list."
A 6'0" outside hitter representing the midwest, Steinberg arrives from New Trier High School and Wildcats Volleyball Club in Evanston, Ill. She played varsity for three years at New Trier, serving as captain in 2012 when the team finished second at the Illinois High School State Championships. As a senior she was named Central Suburban League Player of the Year, as well as All Conference her junior and senior years. Steinberg was also named All State her senior year. As a member of Wildcat Juniors, Steinberg led her team to a 16th-place finish at the AAU National Championships her sophomore year while being named MVP of her team.
Appleman's read on Steinberg: "Steinberg is extremely explosive and an incredible offensive threat. She also possesses that Midwestern work ethic, and is great on defense and passing. She is a true 6-rotation player."
Tashman, a 6'2" middle blocker from Castilleja High School and Encore Volleyball Club, is a native of Atherton, Calif. Her 17-under club team won the bronze medal in the 17-Open division of the 2012 Junior National Championships. In addition, her club teams have qualified for the Open division of Junior Nationals every year since she was a 14-under. Her teams also won the NCVA Power League as 14s, 16s, and 17s. Tashman was named first team All League WBAL as a senior for Castilleja, as well as Palo Alto Athlete of the Week. Her junior year her squad won the CCS Championships.
Appleman's read on Tashman: "Tashman gives us the ability to be taller in the middle and she is a great blocker. Her success in club volleyball has made her a formidable middle attacker. But her best skills are defending and blocking, which allow her to control play on top of the net."