Four Newcomers Joining Bulldogs
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Head coach Erin Appleman of the four-time defending Ivy League Champion Yale volleyball program announced the incoming Class of 2018 - four freshmen hailing from California and Texas. Kelsey Crawford, Kaitlyn Gibbons, Megan Rasmussen, and Meaghan Truman join a program that has lost only one Ivy League match in the past two years, and finished the 2013 season 45th in the NCAA RPI rankings.
"I think this class is extremely important in helping us get to the next level and continue our success within the conference," Appleman said. "Every year I feel we are getting next-level kids, and I think this class is a good example of that goal."
A 5-9 setter from Sunnyvale, Calif., Crawford was the starting setter for the two-time defending California Division II state champion Archbishop Mitty Monarchs. She was a PrepVolleyball.com All-America selection, as well as being a finalist for both the website's National Senior Player of the Year Award and Andi Collin's Award, which is traditionally given out to the top high school setter in the nation. Crawford was named to the MaxPreps All America Third Team as well as to their California All-American DII First Team. As a senior, Crawford was also named All-Mercury and All-WCAL first team as well as making the All-Tournament teams for the prestigious Santa Barbara TOC and Durango Classic high school tournaments. The NorCal native plays for Red Rock Volleyball Club, and has medaled twice at the USA Volleyball Junior Nationals.
"I'm especially excited to have Kelsey in our program," Appleman said. "I think she will be one of the best pure setters we've ever had at Yale, and I wouldn't be surprised to see her in the starting rotation immediately."
A native of Yorba Linda, Calif., Gibbons is a 6-0 outside hitter from Orange Lutheran High School and Tstreet Volleyball Club. A three-year letter winner at Lutheran, Gibbons was captain and starting outside hitter in her senior campaign when the team was Trinity League champions and semifinalists in the CIF Southern Section Championships. She was named to the Trinity League's First Team as well as one of the top 10 outside hitters on OC Varsity's team listing and an OC Varsity Scholar Athlete of the Week. Gibbons has played in six consecutive USAV Junior National tournaments, getting a bronze medal in 2013's 18 Open tournament. Additionally, Gibbons was a silver medalist at the USAV High Performance tournament competing for SoCal's High Performance team.
"Kaitlyn is one of the best pure athletes we've ever recruited," Appleman said. "I see a lot of potential for her as she continues to grow as a terminating left side hitter."
A 5-11 outside hitter from Houston, Texas, Rasmussen has been a three-year starter at Clear Lake High School where she was twice named Texas 24-5A 1st Team All-District and Academic All-District. In her senior year, she was also Second Team TSWA All-State and a Greater Houston Area All-Star, as well as the Texas 24-5A Offensive Player of the Year. After being named Athlete of the Week by various publications including the Houston Chronicle and Lonestarvolleyball.com, Rasmussen led her team to the Texas 5A HS State Playoffs Bi-District championship, finishing her career with 1,261 kills and averaging 4.8 kills per set her senior year.
"Megan is a really well-rounded all-around player, just as good in the back row as she is in the front row," Appleman said. "She'll be one of the hardest hitters on our team."
A 6-4 middle hitter from Los Angeles, Truman is a four-year letter winner from Notre Dame Academy. Named Most Improved her junior year, she made Sunshine League Second Team her junior and senior years. Truman helped her team finish third at the Royal Tournament her senior year after capturing the crown her junior year and was named to the Royal Tournament All-Tournament team as a senior. She was also named CIF-SS Student Athlete of the Year for Notre Dame Academy. Playing for Club Troy, Truman was a bronze medalist in the 16 National Division in 2012.
"Meaghan gives us something that we've never had at 6-4," Appleman said. "She will be an imposing blocker as well as a sideout hitter."