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Women's Volleyball All-Ivy -- 2012

PRINCETON, N.J. -- In what has been a remarkable year for Ivy League champion Yale, it is fitting that the Bulldogs' junior setter Kendall Polan (Cardiff, Calif.) was named the Ivy League Player of the Year for the second consecutive season on Thursday. 

Polan was the table-setter for Yale as the Bulldogs went through the Ivy slate undefeated -- just the second 14-0 mark in League history and the eighth team to go undefeated in Ivy play in the 26 years of full regular season play. Yale will enter the NCAA Tournament at the end of the month having won 15 straight matches with its last lost coming on Sept. 15. 

Polan played in all 79 sets during the regular season, averaging 7.47 assists per set. Her 183 kills ranked third on the squad to go along with her team-best 590 assists. She also added in 15 service aces. In League play, she recorded 370 of her assists for a 7.71 assist-per-set average, fifth-best in the League, to go along with a .250 hitting percentage and a 4.12 digs per set average, which ranked seventh in the League. 

Since the award began in 1987, Polan is the sixth to win League Player of the Year award twice and the fifth to do it in consecutive seasons. She joins Cornell's Elizabeth Bishop (2005-06), Harvard's Kaego Ogebchie (2002, 2004), Yale's Rosie Wustrack (1996-97), Cornell's Jenn Strazza (1991-92) and Penn's Melissa Ingalis (1987-88). 

Penn junior libero Dani Shepherd (Los Angeles) won the Ivy League's inaugural Defensive Player of the Year award. Shepherd leads the nation in digs with 617 this season, averaging a national best 6.56 per set. That number will rank third on the NCAA single-season list, bettering her own average of 6.16 last year. In League play this season, she averaged 6.72 digs per set. Twice this season, Shepherd recorded more than 40 digs in a match, one of them coming in League play against archrival Princeton.  

Yale freshman setter Kelly Johnson (Palos Verdes, Calif.) was selected as the Ivy League Rookie of the Year. Johnson could hardly be called the Bulldogs' "other setter." While recording 427 assists for an average of 5.41, she also had 225 kills and 53 total blocks, both second-best on the squad.

Her 2.85 kills per set ranked eighth in the League overall. That mark jumped to 3.06 in Ivy matches, which ranked sixth. She also hit .324 in League play, tops among rookies and seventh in the Ivy. 

Kelly Johnson Johnson and Polan combined for more than 1,000 assists this season, equating for a big part of the reason that the Bulldogs are third in the nation as a team in assists per set at 13.9. 

Johnson's honor marked the third-consecutive year that a Bulldog has won top rookie honors in the Ancient Eight, joining Polan (2010) and Mollie Rogers (2011).

Polan was one of three unanimous selections to first-team All-Ivy. Columbia senior middle blocker Megan Gaughn (Winter Park, Fla.) and Princeton senior outside hitter Lydia Rudnick (Encinitas, Calif.) also earned first-team votes on all seven possible ballots.

Joining Polan, Gaughn and Rudnick on the first team were Shepherd, Johnson and Rogers (San Diego) from Yale, Princeton freshman middle blocker Kendall Peterkin (San Diego), Columbia senior middle blocker Heather Braunagel (Trumbull, Conn.) and Harvard senior outside hitter Taylor Docter (Los Altos, Calif.). 

It is a heavy-hitting lineup on the first team as the League's top four in kills per set are represented. Lydia Rudnick led the way at 4.25 overall and 4.47 in League play. Gaughn, who will graduate the Lions' all-time leader in kills with 1,284, was second in the League, followed by Peterkin and Docter, who is a candidate for Academic All-America. Peterkin was second in the league in points per set behind Rudnick. 

Braunagel led the league in blocks per set at 1.20 and was third in hitting percentage, swinging at a .351 clip. Rogers, a sophomore outside hitter, was sixth in the League in digs at 3.96 per set and fifth in points, averaging 3.52 points per set. 

The All-Ivy teams are made up of six players, regardless of position, and a libero. Because of ties in the voting, nine players were named to the first team, while seven earned second-team All-Ivy. Yale placed five on the All-Ivy squads, three first team and two second team. Columbia and Princeton both earned three All-Ivy selections, while Penn and Harvard each had two and Cornell had one. 

Six of the eight teams were represented on the second team. Columbia's Caitlin Brenton, Cornell's Rachel D'Epagnier, Harvard's Caroline Walters, Emma White of Penn, Tinana Woolridge from Princeton and the Yale duo of Maddie Rudnick and Haley Wessels earned second-team honors. 

PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Kendall Polan, Yale (Jr., S/H - Cardiff, Calif.)

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Dani Shepherd, Penn (Jr., L - Los Angeles)

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Kelly Johnson, Yale (Fr., S/H - Palos Verdes, Calif.)

FIRST TEAM ALL-IVY^
Heather Braunagel, Columbia (Sr., MB - Trumbull, Conn.)
Megan Gaughn, Columbia (Sr., OH - Winter Park, Fla.)*
Taylor Docter, Harvard (Sr., OH - Los Altos, Calif.)
Dani Shepherd, Penn (Jr., L - Los Angeles)
Kendall Peterkin, Princeton (Fr., RS/MB - San Diego)
Lydia Rudnick, Princeton (Sr., OH - Encinitas, Calif.)*
Kelly Johnson, Yale (Fr., S/H - Palos Verdes, Calif.)
Kendall Polan, Yale (Jr., S/H - Cardiff, Calif.)*
Mollie Rogers, Yale (So, OH - San Diego)

SECOND TEAM ALL-IVY
Caitlin Brenton, Columbia (So., OH - San Jose, Calif.)
Rachel D'Epagnier, Cornell (Jr., MB - Coopersburg, Pa.)
Caroline Walters, Harvard (So., MB - San Mateo, Calif.)
Emma White, Penn (So., OH - Manhattan Beach, Calif.)
Tiana Woolridge, Princeton (So., MB - Sherman Oaks, Calif.)
Maddie Rudnick, Yale (So., L - Encinitas, Calif.)
Haley Wessels, Yale (Sr., MB - Dallas)

HONORABLE MENTION ALL-IVY
Kathryn Conner, Brown (So., DS/L - Newport Beach, Calif.)
Breanna Wong, Cornell (Fr., RS/OH - Highlands Ranch, Colo.)
Lauren Martin, Penn (Sr., RS - Bedford, Texas)
Susan Stuecheli, Penn (Jr., MB - Troy, Mich.)
Ginny Willis, Princeton (So., S - Tampa, Fla.)

* Unanimous Selection
^ Due to ties in the voting, first-team All-Ivy was expanded from seven