Outside hitter Mollie Rogers ’15 is a two-time member of the All-Ivy First Team and the 2011 Ivy League Rookie of the Year. Last season, when the Bulldogs finished with an undefeated Ivy record, she was ranked in the top 10 in multiple categories within the Ivy League, including fifth in points, sixth in kills and sixth in digs. She also led a strong Eli offense in kills per set. The News sat down with Rogers to discuss her role on the team and prospects for the season.
Q: How long have you been playing volleyball, and how did you get started?
A: I’ve been playing since fifth grade. I’ve played on a travel team since sixth grade. My mom played tennis in college, my dad surfed. I actually played on a rec softball team, but I fell in love with volleyball and ditched softball.
Q: For someone who’s never seen you play, what do you bring to the team? What kind of player are you?
A: I’m pretty vocal on the court. I cheer really loudly, and I try to stay positive. I bring a lot of vocal energy to the team.
Q: How did you develop your playing style?
A: When I started playing, I was one of the taller girls. So, of course, I started in the middle. One of my very first coaches had us practicing passing all the time. Eventually in eighth or ninth grade I became an outside hitter. Just having the ability to pass helped me progress to outside hitter.
Q: In your view, why has the volleyball team been so successful, particularly last season?
A: Obviously, everyone on the team is talented. There’s something more that contributes to our success. We spend all of our time together. We develop good team chemistry. We’re all really good friends on and off the court and we respect each other. I think that’s one of the biggest factors, if not the biggest factor.
Q: What do you think the team’s prospects this season are?
A: It’s always hard to predict how the other teams will do, but we only lost one senior [team captain Haley Wessels ’13]. She was very talented, but, luckily, we have four freshmen coming in at the same position and so far we’re all getting along. The team seems really talented. It looks good.
Q: Without getting too technical, what is “Yale volleyball?” What kind of philosophy or style of play does Coach Appleman teach?
A: Passing is very important for us. We emphasize being aggressive and playing as a team. You really have to work within your team — you can’t do it all by yourself. Obviously, we all know how to play volleyball. It’s more about trusting your teammates, staying focused and being encouraging after good and bad plays.
Q: It’s now your third year playing volleyball for Yale. What changes have you noticed within the team?
A: The team gets closer and closer every year. I never get tired of them. They really are like family. Even throughout the year, relationships get stronger. We’re always fighting for this one goal, but we can come off the court and be normal friends. We don’t even always have to talk about volleyball.
Q: How do you integrate new players onto the team?
A: After every practice, we have team dinner. We don’t do any sort of hazing. There are no freshman-only tasks — everyone takes turns counting the balls, putting up the nets, etc. Basically, everyone does their own share. It’s nice because as a freshman, you have freshman orientation, and then you get your own orientation from us.
Q: For someone who does not know anything about the volleyball team, tell us why we should come and see you guys play.
A: It’s really fast-paced — something’s always happening. Every point is usually a really exciting play. There’s a lot of drama. It’s a great, high energy sport.