With four games left in the season, the volleyball team has a chance to wrap up the Ivy League title with four wins.
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The Elis (14–7, 8–2 Ivy) upset both Princeton (12–8, 7–2 Ivy) and Penn (11–10, 7–2) over the weekend to become sole owners of first place in the Ancient Eight, and the success has been due in part to two standout Eli freshmen. In the team’s victories against the former conference leaders, Kendall Polan ’14 averaged 8.33 assists, 5.0 digs and 2.33 kills per set, while Erica Reetz ’14 added 17 kills of her own over the two matches. Both freshmen have received multiple Ivy League Rookie of the Week Honors this season; Polan most recently was named for the fourth time just yesterday.
“This freshman class has worked really hard and they have personalities that have come together over time,” head coach Erin Appleman said. “They stood out among other players because not only were they skilled and knowledgeable but because they have the ability to improve further.”
Reetz sparked an important second set comeback in the Elis’ game against Princeton. The Bulldogs were on the verge of losing in the second set against the Tigers, but after a Reetz kill, the team won the next four points to win the set.
Polan and Reetz have had consistent, strong performances in all matches this season. Reetz is second on the team behind Bridget Hearst ’12 in kills with 227, good for sixth in the Ivy League, while Polan leads the team with 702 assists and is third in the conference. But for Reetz and Polan, it’s only the wins that matter.
“I don’t come into each game with personal goals,” Polan said. “We go out there to win and it is not about individual stats.”
Hearst said that it is usually hard for freshmen to transition to collegiate athletics, but Reetz and Polan managed to make a mark early in their careers. Polan received her first Rookie of the Week award during the first week of the season when she helped the Bulldogs win the Yale Invitational title. Reetz won her first title the following week.
“They both came in ready to win and fight,” Bridget Hearst ’12 said. “When freshmen come, they are usually intimidated, but Kendall and Erica bring the level of competition up.”
Both players said they had to get used to the styles of the other college levelplayers on the team. According to both players, they knew that they would have to work hard to earn their spot on the team.
“There is always an adjustment whenever you change teams especially getting to know the other girls and their style of play,” Reetz said. “No one comes onto the team with playing time and each one of us has to earn our spot on the team.”
Reetz, Polan, and the Bulldogs return to action this weekend against Dartmouth and Harvard.