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Courtesy: University of Pennsylvania
Shepherd Leads Four Quakers on All-Ivy Teams
Courtesy: Alex Keil, athletic communications assistant  
Release:  11/15/2012
Complete Ivy League Release

PHILADELPHIA -
The Ivy League announced its 2012 All-Ivy volleyball teams on Thursday, and after a year in which she led both the Ivies and the nation in digs, junior libero Dani Shepherd became the league's first-ever Defensive Player of the Year. Shepherd added a first-team All-Ivy nod, becoming a back-to-back choice for the league's top libero and maintaining Penn's hold on that particular position (a Penn player has won it four years in a row).

Sophomore outside hitter Emma White was honored as second-team All-Ivy after a season where she led the Quakers in kills at 2.84 per set and finished second on the team behind Shepherd in digs. Two of this season's tri-captains earned spots on the honorable mention All-Ivy team; senior right side hitter Lauren Martin and junior middle blocker Susan Stuecheli each averaged over two kills per set while tying for the team-high in hitting percentage at .239.


Shepherd began the year slowly by her standards, but was up to speed by the third week of the season. At the Crowne Plaza Philadelphia West Penn Invitational, she racked up 97 digs in three matches, earning the first Ivy League Player of the Week award of her career. Ranked 15th in the nation in digs going into that weekend, Shepherd vaulted up the leaderboard and never relinquished the top spot from that time forward. Just days after that tournament, Penn was on the road at Delaware. Trailing the Blue Hens 2-0 in the match, the Quakers exploded to win the final three sets in dramatic fashion and nab the come-from-behind victory. At the center of the comeback was Shepherd, who broke her own school record with 46 digs. She would add another 43 digs the next weekend in a five-set match against Princeton and then win a second Ivy League Player of the Week in October after compiling 51 digs in a pair of sweeps over Cornell and Columbia. Shepherd averaged 6.56 digs per set and totaled 617 digs on the season, breaking Penn's all-time single-season record of 607 set previously by her predecessor, Madison Wojciechowski, in 2009.

After a strong rookie season for the Quakers, White became Penn's offensive focal point as a sophomore. The outside hitter had 17 matches in which she reached double figures in kills, and turned those into double-doubles on 16 occasions. Even with Shepherd covering so much of the back row, White averaged 4.52 digs per set, putting her fourth in the Ivy League. Some of her best performances came early on in the season as she was named to the all-tournament teams at both the Big 5 Tournament and Cal's Molten Classic. White had 14 kills and 13 digs in the season opener against Temple and added 10 kills and 18 digs the next day against Villanova. A week later she was the only Quaker to reach double figures in kills against Cal, then came back the next day with double-doubles of 13 kills and 21 digs against Northern Arizona, and 13 kills and 24 digs in a win over UC-Riverside. Once in Ivy League play, she either led or tied for the team lead in kills on seven occasions.

One of six seniors for the Quakers this season, Martin ranked third on the team in both kills (2.14) and blocks (0.59) per set. Registering six matches with double-figure kills, she committed the fewest errors on the team among players with more than 400 attacks. In the season-opening Big 5 Tournament, Martin had 12 kills and three block assists against Temple, then came back the next night to lead the team with 11 kills and three block assists in their sweep of Villanova. Against George Mason on Sept. 14, Martin set her season-high with 16 kills versus just one attack error in the 3-1 win over the Patriots. In conference play, she had highs of 11 kills in road matches at Harvard and Columbia, plus another 10 on Senior Night in the home finale against Brown. Martin ends her time wearing the Red and Blue ranked sixth in program history in kills.

Stuecheli established herself as one of the Ivy League's premier middle blockers in 2012, finishing the year ranked second in the league in blocks at 1.17 per set, and first with 28 solo blocks. Though receiving fewer attack opportunities due to her position on the court, she still managed to deliver at least five kills in 21 of the 24 matches she appeared in, and led the team with 13 kills and a .706 hitting percentage in a 3-0 sweep at Dartmouth. Her performance in Penn's Oct. 19 win at Princeton earned her co-Ivy League Player of the Week honors. That night, Stuecheli had 10 kills and tied for an Ivy League season-high with 10 blocks - three of them solo - as the Quakers rebounded from a 2-0 deficit to earn the dramatic victory over the Tigers. Of Penn's 55 double-doubles on the season, hers was the only one that didn't include digs or assists.


The complete list of the All-Ivy teams are below:

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 - 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

‹ Penn Volleyball


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