TUCSON, Ariz. – The University of Arizona sand volleyball team has added Kaitlyn Leary (Parma, Ohio / Ohio State) and Kendall Polan (Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Calif. / Yale), a pair of elite Division I transfers to the program for the 2015 season, head coach Steve Walker announced on Monday. Both Leary and Polan played four years of indoor volleyball and will have one year to play sand.
Leary will arrive in Tucson after a decorated four-year career on the indoor team at Ohio State. A 6-0 outside hitter with the Buckeyes, Leary 13th in school history with a career average of 3.21 kills per set, while also becoming just the 21st player in program history to reach 1,000 career kills. Her 1,215 kills ranks 16th in school history and her 1,299 points ranks 20th in program history.
“The collection of school records and accolades that Kaitlyn acquired throughout the course of her career at Ohio State speaks to her ability on their own,” Walker said. “In such a competitive and deep conference, she was relied upon nightly to fill out the stat sheet for her team without ever coming off the court. Being a full time player on the hardwood should really benefit Kaitlyn as she makes the transition to the sand. I look for Kaitlyn to be an imposing blocker that can change the course of matches with her play at the net. She’s very physical and another exciting addition to the program.”
This past season, Leary led the Buckeyes with 577 kills at a 4.85 per set average, while totaling 20 or more kills in 15 matches. She had 15 double-doubles on the season with 29 matches with double-digit kills. Perhaps her best match of the season was a career-high 31 kill performance at Michigan on Nov. 2, while also adding 13 digs. Leary was named AVCA Honorable Mention All-American, AVCA All-Region and All-Big Ten honorable mention honors following her senior season. She was also earned team MVP honors.
Polan will join the Arizona program after an illustrious four seasons as the starting setter at Yale, where she became the first player in history to win three consecutive league player of the year honors. In addition, she was named Ivy League Rookie of the Year as a freshman in 2010.
“Kendall grew up playing sand volleyball on the beaches of Southern California and it’s very apparent in her play,” Walker said. “She’s a bright young lady and her beach volleyball I.Q. will really be a big asset for the program and I look for her to share her knowledge of the game with our younger players. She is very passionate about the game of volleyball, indoor or sand, and her competitive nature has served her well throughout the course of her career at the 4-year level.”
Polan led her team to the Ivy League championship in each of her four seasons and was part of the best four-year record in Ivy League history with a 51-5 conference mark. She finished her career with the fourth most assists in program history and ranked 24th in the country this past season in assists per set.
Leary and Polan join incoming freshman Olivia Macdonald and Hailey Devlin, who signed with the program last week. All four will compete solely on the sand volleyball team.
For continued coverage of Arizona Wildcat sand volleyball, visit ArizonaWildcats.com and be sure to follow the team on Twitter @ArizonaSandVB and on Instagram @arizonasandvolleyball.