Any team with serious aspirations for the Ivy League volleyball title would be advised to take note of the events that unfolded at Newman Arena this weekend. The Cornell volleyball team moved into pole position in the Ivy standings in emphatic style, dispatching Dartmouth 3-1 (30-23, 30-32, 30-16, 30-18) and blanking Harvard 3-0 (30-27, 30-22, 30-24). Since losing the opening league game to Columbia on Oct. 5, the Red has racked up five consecutive wins to move to 13-5 overall (5-1 Ivy).
A season that started with a 1-3 showing at the Kent State Invitational and injury to star setter Rachel Rice, is beginning to materialize into one of the best campaigns in recent school history. The Red has won 10 out of its last 11 match-ups and is in irresistible form at the moment.
“I’m not surprised at all,” commented sophomore Jamie Lugo. “Our team has great team chemistry, and we work really hard.”
While the loss of Rice before the season was a huge blow, the solid play of senior Jamiee Reynolds has allowed Cornell’s attack to run smoothly in Rice’s
absence. Reynolds, a middle blocker by trade, has filled in admirably at setter, averaging 11.48 assists/game.
“It took some time to adjust to a new setter, but Reynolds is doing great.” said Lugo. “We all miss Rachel, but we’re happy to have Jamiee.”
On Friday night, Dartmouth found the pair of junior Angela Barbera and sophomore Debbie Quibell too hot to handle. Barbera was outstanding with 20 kills and 15 digs, while Quibell had 18 kills, 13 digs and four blocks. The Dartmouth attack led by all-Ivy candidate Ashley Dean was neutralized by a strong Cornell defensive showing. The Red out-blocked its opponents 12-2 as Lugo and Senior Jennifer Borncamp each assisted on eight blocks.
Saturday afternoon brought a different opponent to Newman Arena, but the same result. Hitting .235 and riding another stellar effort from Barbera, Cornell blew away the Crimson in straight sets. Once again, it was a fine defensive performance that laid the foundation for the offense to prosper.
“We’ve been working on these things,” said Lugo. “We need every aspect of the game to win matches.”
While excellent overall team performances contributed to the two victories, there is no denying that this weekend belonged to outside hitter Angela Barbera.
Barbera, a transfer from Boise State, continued to feast on Ivy League opposition, posting a career-high mark for kills against Dartmouth. In the last four matches, she has recorded a remarkable 75 kills. More importantly, her emergence takes some heat off the outside hitting duo of Borncamp and Quibell, and gives the Red valuable depth.
There are still eight Ivy League matches remaining in the season, but next Friday’s clash away at Brown could prove to be pivotal. Brown is currently 4-2 on the season and looks to one of the main obstacles to Cornell’s run for the Ivy League title. However, Lugo is determined that every opponent be given the same level of respect and every match the same level of intensity.
“All of the teams are very comparable,” she observed. “We’re gonna have to work just as hard to beat every one of them.”
Following the match-up with Brown, the Red travels to New Haven, Conn., on Saturday to do battle with Yale. In the corresponding fixtures last season, Cornell lost 3-2 to Brown and defeated Yale 3-0.
Archived article by Soo Kim