The Cornell volleyball team traveled to Cal-State Northridge this weekend for the opening tournament of the season, the Fremont Investment and Loan Invitational. Unfortunately for the Red, the team returned home still seeking its first victory, having been defeated twice on Friday and once again on Saturday. Despite the disappointing 0-3 start, head coach Deitre Collins feels the Red made significant strides in the right direction.
“I think we were very competitive,” Collins said. “We have to learn how to sustain playing at a high level. We were kind of up and down all weekend.”
In the first match, the Red fell to Southern Methodist University 30-19, 30-21, 28-30, 30-25, as the Mustangs improved to 3-1 on the season. Sophomore Elizabeth Bishop was the star for Cornell, recording 20 kills and 19 digs. The difference in the match was the Mustangs out-blocking Cornell 12-6. Last season, Cornell out-blocked its opponents in all but three matches. But, the Red graduated several senior middles from last year, breaking apart the squad that was ranked 2nd in the nation in blocks. Junior Kelly Kramer contributed 26 digs, while her classmate Whitney Fair added 51 assists in the loss.
In its second match on Friday, the Red dropped a 3-0 decision to tournament host, CSUN, 30-24, 30,24, 30-22. CSUN captured it first win of the season, after dropping three straight contests to start the year. Cornell allowed CSUN to manage a .299 hitting percentage, which is almost double that of the .154 mark the Red allowed on average last season. Cornell only hit at a .147 clip in the match.
Bishop was again the bright spot for the Red, knocking down a team-high 17 kills. Junior Hayley Grieve added eight of her own, while Kramer again led the team in digs with 12. CSUN was led by senior Jen Ryan, who posted an 18 kill, 10 dig performance.
On Saturday, the Red rounded out the tournament with a match against UNLV. “It was just a chance to see my old players,” said Collins, the former head coach of the Rebels. “It was nice to see how they are progressing.”
Unfortunately for the Red, her old players swept Cornell in three games, 30-21, 30-23, 30-25. For the first time since 2002, the Red hit less than .100 in a match (0.79), while allowing the Rebels to hit .186. UNLV received a 39 assist and 13 dig effort from Nicki King, leading them to victory.
The Red was led by Grieve, who posted a 10 kill and 12 dig double-double performance. Kramer added 19 digs, giving her a total of 57 for the weekend and earning her all tournament honors.
The Red will return to the court next weekend for the Bucknell Invitational, where it will face Duquesne, Niagara, and the host Bison. Cornell will look to rebound from its winless opening weekend.
“We will go back and work on some things,” Collins said. “We will definitely play better than we did this weekend.”
Archived article by Bryan Pepper
Sun Staff Writer