NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- After a 4-1 road swing, the Bulldogs return home this weekend to wrap up their home schedule this weekend against Columbia and Cornell.
Yale (15-4. 9-1 Ivy) begin the weekend with a two-match lead in the standings with four matches to play. Last weekend, the Bulldogs split a pair of matches with a win at Dartmouth and a loss at Harvard. The loss snapped Yale's record-setting 23-match Ivy League win streak. It was the first time Yale had lost to Harvard since Oct. 22, 2004, and first Ivy defeat since Nov. 12, 2011.
Yale starts the weekend with another streak - 30 straight Ivy League regular season home victories. The Bulldogs defeated Cornell (3-0) and Columbia (3-1) earlier this year on the road.
Last Time Out
Despite Kendall Polan's season-high 60 assists, Yale lost 3-2 at Harvard. Kelly Johnson added a team-high 19 kills - one of four Bulldogs to reach double figures. The scores of the match were 26-24, 26-28, 27-25, 23-25 and 15-9. In addition, Maya Midzik elevated her game to another level and re-established her career high with 14 kills.
This weekend marks the final home matches for the three seniors on the Bulldogs' roster - McHaney Carter, Kendall Polan and Erica Reetz. The trio will be honored before Yale's match on Saturday against Cornell.
Defending Ivy League Champs, Again
The Bulldogs have won three straight Ivy League titles and are closing in on a fourth. Yale enters the weekend in first place by two matches with fourth conference matches left. During the last four years, the Bulldogs are 47-5 in Ivy League matches.
Kendall Polan Passes 3,000 Career Assists
Kendall Polan became the fourth player to surpass the 3,000-assist mark in Yale volleyball program history. Polan accomplished the feat during a season-high, 60-assist performance at Harvard last Saturday. Polan begins the weekend with 3,016 assists and stands at fourth on Yale's all-time list. She needs 157 assists to tie Ally Mendenhall for third. In addition, Polan needs three digs and three assists to move into 10th all-time in both categories at Yale.
Mollie Rogers Enters 700-Kill Club
Two-time, first team All-Ivy hitter Mollie Rogers continues to be Yale's leader with 2.88 kills per set. Rogers enters this weekend with 732 career kills after connecting on double-figures twice last weekend. Rogers has struck for at least 10 kills 11 times this season.
Bulldogs Dominate League Awards
Yale has won at least one Ivy League award in seven of the nine 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 27-0 overall record and 11-0 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 46th out of 332 teams in the latest NCAA's RPI ranking. In addition, the Bulldogs rank 61st in this week's latest Pablo Ranking, a nationally-recognized ratings system published by the website RichKern.com.
Spreading the Wealth
Six different Bulldogs average at least 1.75 kills per set. Mollie Rogers leads the team with a 2.88 average, with Kelly Johnson averaging 2.76 and Brittani Steinberg averaging 2.62. Jesse Ebner produces 2.49 kills per set, while McHaney Carter averages 1.75.
Four Bulldogs average over two digs per set, led by junior Maddie Rudnick. An All-Ivy Second Team member last season, Rudnick averages 4.63 digs per set and ranks second in the conference. Kendall Polan (3.06 digs per set), Kelly Johnson (2.35), Mollie Rogers (2.12), Tori Shepherd (1.44) and Brittani Steinberg (1.32) have also provided solid numbers.
Senior McHaney Carter leads the team with 50 total blocks, including a season-high six in Yale's win over 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 41 this year.
Coming Up Aces
The Bulldogs enter the week ranked fourth in the nation and lead the Ivy League in aces per set with a 1.81 average. Individually, Yale's Kendall Polan ranks 17th in the nation a 0.46 aces per set average.
Scouting the Opponents
Columbia (5-14, 3-7 Ivy) were swept by Penn and Princeton on the road last weekend. Bailey Springer ranks second in the conference with 3.51 kills per set and the Lions rank second in the Ivy League as a team in blocks with 2.15 per set. Katarina Jovicic, Kesi Neblett and Savannah Fletcher have been leaders at the net for the Lions this season, each registering just shy of one block per set.
Cornell began the weekend 7-13 overall and 3-7 in Ivy play. The Big Red enters the weekend the top blocking team in the Ivy League and several individual league leaders. Rachel D'Epagnier leads the conference in blocks per set, while Natasha Rowland ranks first with 5.11 digs per set and Alyssa Phelps leads with 9.09 assists per set. Breanna Wong ranks fourth in the Ivy League with 3.21 kills per set.
Report filed by Ernie Bertothy, Yale Sports Publicity