Bulldogs Host Penn, Princeton This Weekend

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The Bulldogs look to keep their early hold on first place in the Ivy League this weekend with home matches against Penn and Princeton.

Yale swept Harvard and Dartmouth last weekend and stand as the only undefeated team left in the Ivy League at 3-0.  

Last Time Out 

The Bulldogs blasted a season-best 53 kills in a three-set match and swept Dartmouth in New Haven.  Mollie Rogers delivered her highest kill total in nine matches with a match-high 14 against the Big Green.  Kendall Polan dished out 27 assists as Brittani Steinberg (12), Kelly Johnson (11) and Jesse Ebner (9) also reached at least nine kills.  Yale hit .336 as a team, its second-highest percentage in 12 matches this season, as Ebner (.467), Steinberg (.435) and Johnson (.429) all hit over .400.  On defense, Maddie Rudnick came up with a match-high 14 digs and Carter had two solo blocks and a block assist.   A night earlier, Yale blitzed Harvard in a 3-0 win. Rogers and Ebner were the hitting stars with 11 kills each and Yale out-dug Harvard 54-27 in an efficient performance.   

Ebner Earns Ivy Honor

Middle blocker Jesse Ebner, who hit .533 with 20 kills in Yale's sweep of Harvard and Dartmouth over the weekend, has been named the Ivy League Player of the Week.  The sophomore from Portola Valley, Calif., had 11 kills on 15 attempts in the 3-0 victory over Harvard and added nine kills in 15 attempts in the sweep of Dartmouth on Saturday. In addition, she had three aces and accounted for 15 points against Harvard and had seven digs against Dartmouth.  This is the second Player of the Week honor for Ebner this season. She also was selected on Sept. 24. Yale has had two other weekly award winners this season.  Kelly Johnson was selected as the Player of the Week on Sept. 10, and Brittani Steinberg earned Rookie of the Week honors on Sept. 17.

Home Sweet Home

Yale has won 28 straight Ivy League regular season home matches.  The Bulldogs are 5-1 this season at the John J.Lee Amphitheater with a loss was to Missouri, which entered the week 18-0 overall and 3-0 in the SEC.  

High Percentages

Yale hit .335 as a team in its latest win, a 3-0 victory over Dartmouth on Oct. 5.  The Bulldogs enter the week hitting .263 - the top percentage among Ivy League teams and rank 31st in the nation.  Yale has hit over .300 four times this season - including a .441 performance in a win over Army on Sept. 14.  Entering the week, Jesse Ebner leads the Ivy League with a .403 hitting percentage, while McHaney Carter ranks fourth in the conference at a .317 clip.  

NCAA RPI Rankings Released

Yale ranks 50th out of 332 teams in the NCAA's first RPI ranking of the season for the week of Oct. 7.  In addition, the Bulldogs rank 43rd in the this week's latest Pablo Ranking, a nationally-recognized ratings system published by the website RichKern.com

Spreading the Wealth

Five different Bulldogs average at least 1.88 kills per set.  Mollie Rogers leads the team with a 2.93 average, with Brittani Steinberg averaging 2.55 and Jesse Ebner with 2.54.  Kelly Johnson produces 2.24 kills per set, while Kendall Polan averages 1.88.

Impressive 'D'  

Four Bulldogs average over two digs per set, led by junior Maddie Rudnick.  An All-Ivy Second Team member last season, Rudnick averages 4.56 digs per set and ranks XX in the conference.  Kendall Polan (2.76 digs per set), Mollie Rogers (2.07), Kelly Johnson (2.05) and Brittani Steinberg (1.66) have also provided solid numbers. 

'Mac' Attack

Senior McHaney Carter leads the team with nine solo blocks, including two in Yale's win last weekend over Dartmouth.  Carter leads the team with 30 total blocks and produced five total blocks in a match three times this season.  Carter has already matched her output for block assists from last season with 21.  

Coming Up Aces

The Bulldogs enter the week ranked fourth in the nation in aces per set with a 1.93 average.  Individually, Yale's Kendall Polan ranks seventh in the nation a 0.56 aces per set average. 

Scouting the Opponents 

Penn defeated Cornell in five sets last Saturday to win its first Ivy League match of the season.  The Quakers (7-7, 1-2 Ivy) are led by Kristen Etterbeek's 2.56 kills per set average, which ranks seventh in the Ivy League.   Alex Caldwell (5.76 assists per set) and Ronnie Bither (4.74) are the team's primary setters.

Princeton begins with a match at Brown on Friday and takes a 2-1 in the Ivy League mark and a 6-7 overall record into the weekend.  Last week, the Tigers lost 3-1 to Cornell and won 3-1 at Columbia.  Entering play this weekend, Tiana Woolridge leads the Ivy League with a .404 hitting percentage, while Kendall Peterkin paces the conference with 3.69 kills per set.   

Report filed by Ernie Bertothy, Yale Sports Publicity