NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The Bulldogs (14-3, 8-0 Ivy) won their 22nd straight Ivy match on Saturday, sweeping Brown in three sets. That came on the heels of Harvard's five-set setback at Dartmouth on Friday night, giving the Bulldogs a three-match lead in the Ancient Eight standings.
Yale owns the third-longest active conference winning streak in the country (22) behind Morehead State, winners of 32 straight Ohio Valley Conference matches, and LIU Brooklyn, which has won 27 straight Northeast Conference matches. Yale's 22-straight league wins are the most in Ivy League women's volleyball history. Since the double round-robin schedule format began in 2001, Penn won 20 straight League matches in 2002-03 and Princeton had won 19 consecutive Ivy matches during the 2006, 2007 and 2008 campaigns. Yale's last loss in Ivy play came on Nov. 12, 2011, a 3-2 setback at Dartmouth to close out the regular season.
Yale's three out-of-conference losses this season have come at the hands of No. 2-ranked Penn State, No. 6 Stanford and No. 7 Missouri, which is one of two unbeatens left in the nation (25-0). The Bulldogs were ranked No. 44 in this week's release of the NCAA RPI with all three of the losses coming against Top 10 RPI squads (Penn State 2, Stanford 5, Missouri 6).
Last Time Out
The Bulldogs stormed back from an early 11-4 deficit in game one and swept the Bears. With the win, Yale improved to 14-3 overall, 8-0 in the Ivy League and raised its lead in the conference standings to three matches. The scores of the match were 25-21, 25-14 and 25-21. Kelly Johnson had a match-high 11 kills, Kendall Polan added 31 assists and Maddie Rudnick produced 20 digs to lead Yale.
Polan Earns Ivy League Honors
Kendall Polan was named the Ivy League's Player of the Week after dishing out a match-high 31 assists and adding three service aces Saturday against Brown. Polan, the team captain, added eight digs and three kills in the victory over the Bears. She continues to rank in the top 10 in the league in assists (4th) and service aces (2nd).
Bulldogs Dominate League Awards
Yale has won at least one Ivy League award in seven of the eight weeks. Kelly Johnson and Jesse Ebner have won two player of the week awards, while Kendall Polan and Brittani Steinberg have both won the honor once. Steinberg has also won rookie of the week twice.
Home Sweet Home
Yale has won 30 straight Ivy League regular season home matches. The Bulldogs are 7-1 this season at the John J.Lee Amphitheater with a loss was to Missouri, which entered the week ranked 7th in the nation with a 25-0 overall record and 9-0 mark in the SEC.
The Bulldogs enter the week hitting .262 - the top percentage among Ivy League teams and rank 25th in the nation. Yale has hit over .300 five 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 .422 hitting percentage, while Kelly Johnson ranks fifth in the conference at a .303 clip.
Bulldogs' in National Rankings
Yale ranks 44th out of 332 teams, up five spots from last week, in the latest NCAA's RPI ranking. In addition, the Bulldogs rank 41st 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 1.63 kills per set. Mollie Rogers leads the team with a 2.93 average, with Brittani Steinberg averaging 2.76 and Kelly Johnson with 2.64. Jesse Ebner produces 2.54 kills per set, while McHaney Carter averages 1.65.
Four Bulldogs average over two digs per set, led by junior Maddie Rudnick. An All-Ivy Second Team member last season, Rudnick averages 4.76 digs per set and ranks second in the conference. Kendall Polan (3.10 digs per set), Kelly Johnson (2.39), Mollie Rogers (2.17), Tori Shepherd (1.38) and Brittani Steinberg (1.37) have also provided solid numbers.
Polan Continues Climb Among Yale Greats
Kendall Polan is climbing the all-time ranks at Yale. She needs four aces and 28 digs to crack the top 10 in school history in those categories and is already fourth all-time in assists. Polan, who has been named the Ivy League Player of the Year in each of the last two seasons, has a chance to become the first volleyball player in league history to win three player of the year awards.
Senior McHaney Carter leads the team with 45 total blocks, including a season-high six in Yale's win lover Princeton on Oct. 12. Carter leads the team with nine solo blocks and produced at least five total blocks in a match four times this season. Carter had 21 block assists last season and has already surpassed that output with 36 this year.
Coming Up Aces
The Bulldogs enter the week ranked second in the nation and lead the Ivy League in aces per set with a 1.88 average. Individually, Yale's Kendall Polan ranks 10th in the nation a 0.51 aces per set average.
Scouting the Opponents
Dartmouth (10-10, 3-5 Ivy) won its third Ivy match in four chances in a five-set win over Harvard last weekend. Emily Astarita leads the Big Green with a 2.66 kills per set average and led Dartmouth with nine kills against Yale earlier this season. On defense, the Big Green are ranked second in the Ivy League with a 15.90 digs per set team average. The Bulldogs defeated Dartmouth 3-0 on Oct. 5.
Harvard entered the weekend in second place behind Yale in the Ivy standings with 5-3 mark and a 10-7 overall record. Harvard started the weekend with a 6-1 home mark and will host Brown on Friday. Sophomore Kathleen Wallace leads the team with a 2.35 kills per set average, while freshman Corinne Bain leads the team with a 6.00 assists per set average. Yale defeated Harvard 3-0 on Oct. 4 in New Haven.
Report filed by Ernie Bertothy, Yale Sports Publicity