When the Yale volleyball team opens its season this weekend by hosting No. 18 Minnesota, Albany and Boston College at the John J. Lee Amphitheater, it will do so with stadium-sized expectations. The Bulldogs have won the last four consecutive Ivy League Championships, and the squad posted a conference record 23-game win streak over the past two seasons. The team will take the court this season led by captain Mollie Rogers ’15, an outside hitter from California who earned her third straight first team All-Ivy recognition last season. The News caught up with Rogers to discuss the team’s expectations, this year’s squad and her goals for the season.
Q. The team has won four straight Ivy League championships. How do you improve upon that this year?
A. I think obviously we’re trying to get better every single year. I think in preseason we’re playing some tough teams, so it will be really nice to take a game off of those teams or win some of them … In the back of our minds we’re always thinking about how we as a team can get better, because obviously there’s always room for that.
Q. How do you ward off any kind of overconfidence that the team may have?
A. We try to keep pushing ourselves in practice a lot, so our team’s obviously very competitive, [and] our practices show that. In practice we’re always competing really hard against each other on the court … We know that teams are looking to beat us.
Q. With four all-Ivy players returning this year, how talented is this team, especially compared to past years?
A. It’s always hard to tell because every single team is different, but I think we have a great group of freshmen that came in. We’re excited to see players that come in really ready to play at this level that are going to push you in practice and get time on the court. Obviously, it’s really hard to quantify something like that.
Q. What kind of things did you focus on in the offseason, both you personally and as a team?
A. It’s a nice time to work on different plays … I think it’s just a great time to improve all aspects of the game. There wasn’t exactly one specific [aspect of the game] we were working on, but it’s more trying to use the downtime to get better as a team because you lose your seniors, so then in the offseason [it’s time to] get used to not having the seniors that were there before and [developing] that new team that [will compete] in the fall of the next year.
Q. Do you have any personal or team goals for the season?
A. The goal that we always try to focus on is winning the Ivy League.
Q. Would you consider this season a disappointment if you didn’t win the Ivy League title?