In Homer’s The Odyssey, the Greek hero Odysseus makes his way back to Ithaca, where he restores his power and finally ends his decade-long ordeal away from home. This past weekend, the volleyball team (12-6, 6-2 Ivy) finally made its way back home to Ithaca, and also emerged victorious, beating Ivy powerhouses Princeton (13-5, 4-2 Ivy) and Penn (9-8, 3-4 Ivy) in their first home Ivy matches since their first conference game of the season on Oct. 6 against Columbia.
“The team really got together and said this is the time we need to step up,” said head coach Deitre Collins. “They’re serious about doing well in the conference [and] they put together back-to-back competitive games.”
Indeed, the beginning of the weekend looked like the start of an epic battle, as the Tigers came out strong against the Red. After Cornell eked out a 30-28 win in the first game of the night, Princeton countered by winning the second game, 30-25. However, the Red was able to hold off Princeton with two more close wins, taking the match, 3-1.
Princeton junior Lauren Grumet posted a double-double with 15 kills and 23 digs on the night, while Tigers sophomore Jenny Reynolds also put up huge numbers with 27 digs. This was not enough for the Tigers, however, as sophomore Liz Bishop continued her incredible play with a double-double on Friday. She had 22 kills and 15 digs on the night. Additionally, junior co-captain Kelly Kramer picked up 32 digs and junior Heather Young had a career-high 14 kills.
“We’ve been on the road for six weeks,” Collins said. “Not having to worry about school on a bus for six hours … you’re more comfortable.”
After a tough match against the Tigers, the Red came out with surprising zeal against Penn on Saturday. Bishop continued her stellar play with a career-high 28-kill performance to propel Cornell to another 3-1 victory. Again, the Red struggled early, losing a nail-biter of a first game, 30-32, to the defending-champion Quakers, but was able to then pull out three straight wins.
All of the Red’s games were close with Penn. For example, in game three, there were 10 separate ties, and only after going on a 6-1 run, helped by four kills from Bishop, was the Red able to pull away and garner a 30-25 win.
“Liz just gets better every day,” Collins said. “This was a big weekend for her, and a big weekend for us.”
Overall, despite Bishop’s strong play, it was the team as a whole that made the weekend’s successful performance possible. Young carried over her strong play from Friday to Saturday, setting another career high for herself with 16 kills. In addition, Kramer picked up another 21 digs in the effort against the defending champion Quakers.
Archived article by Mike Pandolfini
Sun Staff Writer