Women's Volleyball: 5 Things to Watch For in '13
Bulldogs Host Missouri this Friday at 7 p.m. in Season-Opener
NEW HAVEN - Yale volleyball season begins this Friday and the team has plenty of story lines for the 2013 season. Here's a few to watch:
- The Hunt for Another Ivy Title: Yale will compete for its fourth straight Ivy title and fifth in the last six seasons. The Bulldogs have won five Ivy League titles under head coach Erin Appleman, who begins her 11th season in New Haven with an Ivy record of 112-28 and an overall record of 182-68.
- Challenging Non-Conference Schedule: The Bulldogs face two of the top-three teams in the AVCA pre-season poll -- Penn State (No. 2) and Stanford (No. 3). The Stanford match will at a unique venue: the Pentagon. Yale opens the season on Sept. 6 at home against Missouri of the SEC. The next day, the Bulldogs host Colgate, the defending Patriot League champs. See full schedule.
- Another Touted Freshman Class: For the fifth year in a row, PrepVolleyball.com has recognized the Bulldogs for having one of the nation's best recruiting classes. Yale is the only Ivy League school to be recognized for the past five years. This year's class includes Claire Feeley (MB), Tori Shepherd (L), Brittani Steinberg (OH) and Lucy Tashman (MB) - and head coach Erin Appleman says all four can contribute immediately. Read more on the freshman class.
- Depth and Experience: Yale returns four All-Ivy selections -- including senior Kendall Polan, the two-time defending conference player of the year, and sophomore Kelly Johnson, the Ivy League's Rookie of the Year in 2012. Also returning are junior outside hitter Mollie Rogers (All-Ivy First Team and former Ivy Rookie of the Year) and junior libero Maddie Rudnick (All-Ivy Second Team). In addition, the team features experience, including seniors McHaney Carter (middle blocker) and Erica Reetz (outside hitter), along with another junior Gabby Bird-Vogel (outside hitter).
- Team Records: Yale last year set its program single-season record with a 19.48 digs per set average, which also ranked second in the nation. The Bulldogs also finished fourth in the country in kills per set (14.62) and 10th in the country in assists per set (13.63). This year, the Bulldogs return all but one player from the 2012 team.