With Ivy Title Secured, Bulldogs Aim to Finish Strong at Princeton, Penn
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The Bulldogs (17-4, 11-1 Ivy) wrapped up their fourth straight Ivy League title last weekend with a sweep of Columbia and Cornell at home. Yale enters this weekend with a three-match lead with two Ivy matches still left to play this weekend at Princeton and Penn.
Yale defeated Penn and Princeton earlier this season. Kelly Johnson posted back-to-back triple-doubles in both victories. Mollie Rogers and Johnson had 13 kills each in the 3-1 victory over Princeton on Oct. 12. Johnson also had a team-high 14 kills in a 3-1 win over the Quakers on Oct. 11 in New Haven.
Yale Wins Fourth Straight Ivy Title; Fifth in Six Years
Yale President Peter Salovey, along with Yale Director of Athletics Tom Beckett, on Nov. 14 presented the Bulldogs with the 2013 Ivy League Championship trophy at John J. Lee Amphitheater. The Bulldogs became the first team to punch a ticket to this year's NCAA Tournament.
It is Yale's seventh overall title in volleyball and the sixth during the Appleman era in New Haven. Yale becomes the first team to win four consecutive League titles since regular season round robin play began in 1987 and only the second in Ivy League women's volleyball history. Yale is just the second team in the round robin era to win three consecutive titles outright, joining Cornell (1991-93).
Last Time Out
The Bulldogs won their 32nd straight Ivy League regular season home match with an efficient 3-0 win over Cornell last Saturday. Mollie Rogers posted a match-high 16 kills and produced her second double-double of the season. Rogers hit .429 and added 11 digs, while Brittani Steinberg added nine kills and Maya Midzik had eight. The Bulldogs put away the Big Red by hitting .317 in the third set with 17 kills. On defense, Yale held a 50-40 edge in digs.
Appleman Closes in on 200 at Yale
With a win this weekend, Bulldogs head coach Erin Appleman will earn her 200th victory at Yale. Appleman enters this weekend with a 199-73 (.732) in her 11th at the helm of the program. Her record in Ivy League regular season matches is 123-29 (.849). The Bulldogs have won six Ivy League titles during Appleman's tenure, along with two NCAA Tournament matches.
Bulldogs Dominate League Awards
Mollie Rogers on Nov. 12 became the fifth different Bulldog to win Ivy League Player of the Week this season. Yale has won at least one Ivy League award in eight of the 10 weeks. Kelly Johnson and Jesse Ebner have won two player of the week awards, while Kendall Polan and Brittani Steinberg have both won the honor once. Steinberg has also won rookie of the week twice.
Kendall Polan Passes 3,000 Career Assists
Kendall Polan became the fourth player to surpass the 3,000-assist mark in Yale volleyball program history. Polan accomplished the feat during a season-high, 60-assist performance at Harvard on Nov. 2. Polan begins the weekend with 3,089 assists and stands at fourth on Yale's all-time list. She needs 84 assists to tie Ally Mendenhall for third. In addition, Polan moved into 10th all-time at Yale with 1,153 digs and needs one more service ace to tie 10th in program history.
Mollie RogersNears 800-Kill Club
Two-time, first team All-Ivy hitter Mollie Rogers continues to be Yale's leader with 2.96 kills per set. Rogers enters this weekend with 755 career kills after averaging 3.83 kills per set in two victories last weekend. Rogers has struck for at least 10 kills 12 times this season.
Home Sweet Home
Yale has won 32 straight Ivy League regular season home matches. The Bulldogs went 9-1 this season at the John J.Lee Amphitheater with a loss was to Missouri, which entered the week ranked 7th in the nation with a 29-0 overall record and 13-0 mark in the SEC.
The Bulldogs enter the week hitting .262 - the top percentage among Ivy League teams and rank 25th in the nation. Yale averages a league-best 14.04 kills per set and has hit over .300 five times this season - including a .441 performance in a win over Army on Sept. 14. Entering the week, Jesse Ebner leads the team with a .422 hitting percentage, while McHaney Carter ranks fifth in the conference at a .307 clip.
Bulldogs' in National Rankings
Yale ranks 50th out of 332 teams in the latest NCAA's RPI ranking. In addition, the Bulldogs rank 56th in this week's latest Pablo Ranking, a nationally-recognized ratings system published by the website RichKern.com.
Spreading the Wealth
Seven different Bulldogs average at least one kill per set. Mollie Rogers leads the team with a 2.96 average, with Kelly Johnson averaging 2.82 and Brittani Steinberg averaging 2.74. Jesse Ebner produces 2.49 kills per set, while Maya Midzik averages 1.96, McHaney Carter averages 1.69 and Kendall Polan averages 1.09.
Four Bulldogs average over two digs per set, led by junior Maddie Rudnick. An All-Ivy Second Team member last season, Rudnick averages 4.64 digs per set and ranks second in the conference. Kendall Polan (2.92 digs per set), Kelly Johnson (2.34), Mollie Rogers (2.26), Tori Shepherd (1.45) and Brittani Steinberg (1.23) have also provided solid numbers.
Senior McHaney Carter leads the team with 54 total blocks, including a season-high six in Yale's win over Princeton on Oct. 12. Carter leads the team with nine solo blocks and produced at least five total blocks in a match four times this season. Carter had 21 block assists last season and has already surpassed that output with 45 this year.
Coming Up Aces
The Bulldogs enter the week ranked fifth in the nation and lead the Ivy League in aces per set with a 1.82 average. Individually, Yale's Kendall Polan ranks 17th in the nation a 0.45 aces per set average.
Scouting the Opponents
Princeton (9-13, 5-7 Ivy) is coming off a 3-2 victory at Dartmouth last Saturday night. The Tigers are led on offense by two-time Ivy League Rookie of the Week Cara Mattaliano, who has a chance to catch Columbia's Bailey Springer for the kills lead in Ivy play during the final weekend. Mattaliano currently ranks second with 3.39 kills per set, and her 3.82 points per set ranks third in the league.
Penn enters the weekend 14-9 and 8-4 in league play. Penn sophomore outside hitter Alexis Genske had a career-high 20 kills and two more double-doubles over the weekend as the Quakers ran their winning streak to six straight matches and pulled into a tie for second in the Ivy standings with a pair of road wins. Penn's Dani Shepherd, sister of Yale freshman Tori Shepherd, ranks 11th in the nation with a 5.49 digs per set average.