Fab Four: Johnson Takes Over in Fourth Set, Lifts Yale Over Penn

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(photo by Don Clark, Yale Sports Publicity)

Bulldogs Improve to 4-0 in the Ivy League

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The Bulldogs needed a lift after dropping their first Ivy League set in 23 chances -- and Kelly Johnson provided the boost.

Johnson rattled off eight kills and added three assists in the deciding fourth set to lift Yale to a 3-1 victory over Penn on Friday night.  In the match, Johnson stuffed the stat sheet with 18 assists, 16 digs, three block assists and two services to go along with season-high 14 kills with a .345 hitting percentage to help the Bulldogs remain the only undefeated team in conference play.

With the win, the Bulldogs improved to 10-3 overall, 4-0 in the conference and have one eight of 10 matches.

Jesse Ebner, the reigning Ivy League Player of the Week, added 12 kills in 23 swings for a .522 hitting percentage.  Mollie Rogers added nine kills and Brittani Steinberg had seven in another team effort victory.

"We rose to the challenge tonight against a very aggressive Penn team," Yale head coach Erin Appleman said. 

The scores of the match were 25-18, 25-14, 25-27 and 25-21.  

In the fourth set, Ebner tied the game at 10-10, and after trading points with Penn, Johnson began the game-changing rally.  Johnson snapped an 11-all tie, and after a Penn error, blasted another kill to give the Bulldogs a 14-11 lead and force a Quaker timeout. 

After the break, Kendall Polan set up Johnson for another point and put the Bulldogs in control.  Polan had a match-high 32 assists and added 12 digs.

"Kelly and Jesse played great tonight and gave us some big points," Appleman added.

Maddie Rudnick had 24 digs to lead the Bulldogs, while Ebner had a solo block and four block assists.  

Penn (7-8, 1-3 Ivy) won the third set, but Yale made it difficult.  The Quakers led 18-8 before the Bulldogs scored 18 of the next 22 points.  

Karlee Fuller tied the set at 25 to force extra points before Penn scored the next two to take the set.  

The Bulldogs host Princeton on Saturday at 5 p.m. to close out a five-match home stand to begin the conference season.  

Report filed by Ernie Bertothy, Yale Sports Publicity