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Bulldogs Face Villanova, Northwestern In Yale Invitational

Kelly Johnson. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Kelly Johnson. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Action Starts Friday In Lee Amphitheater

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - After winning two of three matches to open the season, the Bulldogs will play Northwestern and Villanova this weekend as part of the Yale Invitational.   

The Bulldogs defeated American, an NCAA tournament qualifier last season, and Stony Brook last weekend.  Yale lost in four sets to Texas A&M, who advanced to the second round of the NCAAs in 2011, in the season opener.

Yale featured a balanced offensive attack in its opening weekend.  Three different  Bulldogs led the team in kills, while four have at least 22 kills this season -- Kendall Polan (32), Kelly Johnson (29), Mollie Rogers (26) and Karlee Fuller (22).  

Polan notched a triple-double against Texas A&M and earned Ivy League Player of the Week honors.  Polan, the reigning conference player of the year, leads the team in kills and assists through three matches.

Polan opened the season with 17 kills (team high), 18 assists, 15 digs and hit .350 in a 3-1 loss to Texas A&M. The next day, she notched 26 assists, 10 digs and six kills while hitting .417 against Stony Brook. Later in the day, she just missed a triple-double with 24 assists, nine kills and eight digs with a hitting percentage of .643.

Yale's freshmen class made immediate contributions last weekend.  Johnson  earned all-tournament honors after posting three double-doubles last weekend, including a near triple-double (nine kills, 16 digs and 21 assists) in her Yale debut against Texas A&M.

Fuller  had eight digs, three blocks and a team-best 11 kills in a sweep of Stony Brook last Saturday.  In addition, Maya Midzik recorded the first two kills of her career in the same match, while classmate Jesse Ebner had three kills. 

Rogers helped cap the weekend with a victory over American.  Rogers, last year's Ivy Rookie of the Year, pounded a team-high 12 kills and hit .417 against the defending Patriot League champs.

On defense, Rogers and fellow sophomore Maddie Rudnick lead the team thus far.  Rogers has 52 digs, while Rudnick has 47.  

Scouting the Field:

  • Northwestern (5-0, 0-0 Big 10) has opened the season where it left off.  After knocking off then-No. 2 Nebraska to end 2011, the Wildcats have on their first five matches.  Junior Stephanie Holthus, named to the preseason All-Big Ten team for the second straight year, leads the team with 84 kills (4.42 per set) thus far. Last weekend, Northwestern won all three matches at the Marquette Classic, which included victories over Bowling Green and Marquette.  
  • Villanova (4-2 overall, 0-0 Big East) won two of three matches last weekend in the Big 5 Tournament.  The Wildcats defeated LaSalle (3-0) and Temple (3-2), and lost to Penn (0-3).   Junior Mariah Henley had 60 digs in the tournament and was named to the all-tournament team.  Krista Andersen leads the team with 62 kills (2.95 per set).
  • Brown (2-1 overall, 0-0 Ivy League) will not face Yale this weekend, but will participate in the Invitational.  The Bears defeated Holy Cross and Central Connecticut, and lost to St. John's to open the season at the Central Connecticut Invitational.  Junior Alexandra Rieckhoff and sophomore libero Kathryn Conner were named to the all-tournament team.  Brown and Yale will square off on Sept. 22 in Providence and on Oct. 20 in New Haven.

2012 Yale Invitational

Friday, September 7
Northwestern vs. Brown, 5 p.m.
Villanova at Yale, 7 p.m.

Saturday, September 8
Northwestern vs. Villanova, noon
Villanova vs. Brown, 5 p.m.
Northwestern at Yale, 7 p.m.

Report filed by Ernie Bertothy, Yale Sports Publicity