Swanson Named Ivy's Top Defensive Player, Attar Selected League's Rookie of the Year

Kathryn Attar, left, and Kate Swanson earned top Ivy League honors on Nov. 16, 2017.  Attar was named the league's Rookie of the Year, while Swanson was named the Ivy League's top defensive player.
Kathryn Attar, left, and Kate Swanson earned top Ivy League honors on Nov. 16, 2017. Attar was named the league's Rookie of the Year, while Swanson was named the Ivy League's top defensive player.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Junior Kate Swanson was named Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year, first-year Kathryn Attar was named Rookie of the Year and a total of five members of the 2017 Ivy League champion Bulldogs were named All-Ivy selections, the league office announced on Thursday.

Swanson and Attar were also named First Team All-Ivy, while sophomores Franny Arnaurou and Tristin Kott were named to the second team.  Junior Kelley Wirth was named an honorable mention.

"I couldn't be prouder of what these five have done for us this year," said Yale head coach Erin Appleman, who last week earned her eighth Ivy League title in 15 seasons.  "They have been outstanding in so many ways."

A Rancho Sante Fe, Calif., native, Swanson led the Ivy League with a 5.43 digs per set average in league matches and totaled 266 digs against conference.  Swanson, who earned an All-Ivy spot for the second straight year, has a 4.58 digs per set average for 2017 that stands to be the seventh highest single-season average in Yale history.

"I couldn't ask much more from a libero," Appleman said. "I'm so happy the league rewarded her efforts with these honors."

Attar, a Tampa, Fla. native, closed out the conference regular season third in the Ivy League with 3.29 kills per set and averaged 4.00 kills per set over Yale's last six matches with a conference title on the line. The outside hitter has 233 kills and 205 digs in her first season as a Bulldog.  Attar is the sixth Bulldog to earn Ivy Rookie of the Year under Appleman. 

"As a first year, Kat had great composure stepping into a starting role," Appleman said.  "Towards the end of the regular season she was fantastic."

Arnautou, of San Francisco, Calif., leads the Bulldogs in assists and service aces, and averaged 2.35 digs per set against Ivy League competition.  The setter surpassed the 1,000 assist mark for her Yale career in less than two seasons in New Haven and had three double-doubles over the last four matches of the season. 

Appleman said, "This is just a great honor for Franny after all the hard word she has put in to really learn our system."

A Winter Park, Fla., native, Kott had at least 10 kills in seven straight Ivy matches at one point in the season and finished among the top 10 in the conference in kills (2.65) and hitting percentage (.292).  The outside hitter, an All-Ivy selection for the second straight year, also has 40 blocks on the season.

"Tristin continues to develop and grow as a player," Appleman said. "There are many times this year that she carried us offensively."

An All-Ivy selection for the third straight year, Wirth leads the Bulldogs in kills per set for the season.  The outside hitter and Moraga, Calif., native has had 10 or more kills 13 times, and ranks second on the team with 50 blocks.

"I'm happy that Kelley continues to be one of our most potent offensive weapons who hasn't finished growing as a player," Appleman said.

The Bulldogs host Princeton on Saturday at 7 p.m. to determine the Ivy League's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.    

Report filed by Ernie Bertothy, Yale Sports Publicity