November 21, 2013

Polan Earns Record-Setting Third Ivy League Player of the Year Honor; Five Bulldogs Named All-Ivy Selections

After Fourth-Straight Ivy League Title, Bulldogs Dominate Conference Awards  

NEW HAVEN, Conn.Kendall Polan became the first three-time Ivy League Volleyball Player of the Year award winner in conference history today and joined four Yale teammates to earn All-Ivy honors. 

Polan, Yale's senior captain, joined junior Mollie Rogers and sophomore Kelly Johnson, on the All-Ivy First Team, while junior Maddie Rudnick and freshman Brittani Steinberg were named All-Ivy Second Team selections. 

"I'm very excited to get such great representation on the All Ivy team," Yale head coach Erin Appleman said. "I am thrilled for the five players who were honored because it shows the depth of talent we have here at Yale."  

Polan, who earned conference rookie of the year as a freshman, won the league's top honor in what is developing as another special season for the Bulldogs.  Polan helped lead the Bulldogs to their fourth straight conference title and a 51-5 mark in Ivy League matches over the last four years.  

"Kendall has had an amazing year, being the setter and leading her team to her fourth Ivy title proves how talented she really is,"  Appleman said.  "She will always be the one of the best players ever to play in the conference."

A Cardiff, Calif., native, Polan led Ivy League in assists per set in conference-only matches.  Earlier this month, Polan moved into fourth all-time at Yale in assists and will move into third with four more.    

Polan's three-peat marked only the second time the same school won Ivy Player of the Year three consecutive years - with the last time being 1991-93.  Polan is the third unanimous selection in League history, joining Yale's Cat Dailey in 2008.  Polan also becomes the seventh player in League history to earn four first-team All-Ivy selections.

Rogers, of San Diego, Calif., earned her third first-team All-Ivy selection and became one of 27 three-time (or more) selections to first-team All-Ivy in league history.  Rogers led the conference's top hitting team in kills per set (3.14) and ranked fifth in the Ivy League in conference-only matches.  A two-time Ivy League Player of the Week winner this season, Rogers ranked sixth overall in points per set (3.64) in conference-only matches.

Johnson, last season's Ivy League Rookie of the Year, won her second first team selection.  She ranked among Ivy League leaders in conference-only matches, including second in points per set (4.17), fourth in kills per set (3.39) and fifth in aces per set (0.35).  A Palos Verdes, Calif., native, Johnson was also named Ivy League Player of the Week twice this season.  

"I felt that Kelly and Mollie were the two best hitters in the conference, and I'm thrilled their hard work was rewarded with first team All-Ivy honors,"  Appleman said.

Rudnick, a libero from Encinitas, Calif., earned her second straight All-Ivy Second Team selection.  Rudnick led the team and ranked third in the Ivy League in conference-only matches in digs per set (4.35).  In addition, Rudnick this season moved into the top 10 all-time at Yale in digs and had only nine reception errors in League play, the least of any full-time libero in the conference. 

Steinberg, from Glenview, Ill., was the only hitter in the Ivy League top 10 for both hitting percentage and kills per set.  She ranked among Ivy League leaders in conference-only matches, including sixth in hitting percentage (.297) and eighth in kills per set (2.97). Steinberg was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week twice and Ivy League Player of the Week once this season.

"I'm also glad Maddie and Brittani were recognized because sometimes their contributions are overlooked," Appleman said. "I feel like on any other team, they're first team selections." 

The Bulldogs (19-4, 13-1 Ivy) close out their regular season schedule at Stony Brook on Nov. 26.  Yale will learn its first-round opponent in the NCAA Tournament during the official selection show that will be televised on Dec. 1, at 9:30 p.m. on ESPNU.

Report filed by Ernie Bertothy, Yale Sports Publicity

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