August 30, 2012

Defending Ivy Champs Face National Power Texas A&M In Opener Of Yale Classic

Bulldogs Meet American, Stony Brook Saturday

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The quest for a third straight Ivy League title begins this weekend for the Yale volleyball team.  The two-time defending Ivy League champion Bulldogs host two 2011 NCAA tournament teams -- Texas A&M and American University -- and up-start Stony Brook as part of the Yale Classic.    

After a 12-2 Ivy League season and a trip to the NCAAs, Yale returns eight from last season's conference championship team, including junior Kendall Polan, the Ivy League Player of the Year, and sophomore Mollie Rogers, who earned conference rookie of the year honors. Here's a breakdown of the team:

Seniors

Team captain and middle blocker Haley Wessels returns as the only senior on this year's team.  After earning second team All-Ivy honors in 2010, Wessels, ranked fourth in Ivy League conference matches with a .343 hitting percentage and was named to Ivy League Weekly Honor Roll twice in 2011.  

Juniors

Kendall Polan, a setter, was named AVCA Honorable Mention All-America and First Team All-Ivy after leading the Ivy League with 11.27 assists per set in 2011, while also ranking among the league's top 10 in service aces and digs in conference matches.  Outside hitter Erica Reetz earned Second Team All-Ivy honors after ranking ninth in kills per set in the conference last year, while also producing seven double-doubles (kills and digs).  Middle blocker McHaney Carter, named MVP of the Yale Classic last season, reached 10 or more kills five times and was named to the Ivy League Honor Roll twice in 2011.  

Sophomores

Outside hitter Mollie Rogers, First Team All-Ivy honors in addition to being named Rookie of the Year, ranked among the top 10 in several conference categories:  kills per set (5th), points per set (5th) and hitting percentage (7th). Outside hitter Allie Frappier was named Second Team All-Ivy after finishing second in the Ivy League with a 3.53 kills per set average and third in points per set (3.81) in conference matches.  Maddie Rudnick, a libero, led the team with a 4.63 digs per set average, totaled the sixth-highest single-season digs per set average in school history and ranked sixth in Ivy League conference matches with 5.00 digs per set average.  Outside hitter Gabby Bird-Vogel appeared in six matches last season and adds to the team's depth in the outside hitter position.  

Freshmen

For the fourth year in a row, the Yale volleyball team's incoming class of recruits has been recognized as one of the nation's best by PrepVolleyball.com. The class, featuring Jesse Ebner, Karlee Fuller, Kelly Johnson, Maya Midzik and Christine Wu, was selected for High Honorable Mention alongside such nationally ranked programs as Tennessee, Oregon and Dayton.  Ebner, a 6-0 middle, competed at a high level for many years as a member of Vision Volleyball Club and Sacred Heart Prep.  Fuller, a 6-0 outside hitter, will be the third Bulldog to hail from La Costa Canyon High School in Carlsbad, Calif. Midzik, a middle, was named to the PreVolleyball.com High School All-America Special Mention Team in 2012. Wu, a libero, was a three-time Academic All-Conference selection for Naperville North High School.

This weekend's opponents:

This weekend's schedule:

Fri., Aug. 31
American vs. Stony Brook, 5 p.m.
Texas A&M at Yale, 7 p.m.

Sat., Sept. 1 
Texas A&M vs. American, 11 a.m.
Stony Brook at Yale, 1 p.m.
Texas A&M vs. Stony Brook, 5 p.m.
American at Yale, 7 p.m.

Report filed by Ernie Bertothy