The Cornell volleyball team (1-2) fared well against good competition this past weekend in Durham, N.C. at the Duke Invitational. The team finished in third place after a win against SMU (4-5), and close losses to both Charlotte (2-7) and Duke (5-1). The Red was in contention in every match, despite getting a late start to the season.
“The loss on Friday against Charlotte was tough because we feel like we should have won,” said senior captain Whitney Fair. “It was a good weekend for us though, because we were so close and the other teams started playing games two weeks before we did.”
Cornell – led by senior co-captains Fair and Kelly Kramer, and two-time first-team All-Ivy selection, junior Elizabeth Bishop – controlled the tempo of the first match against SMU from start to finish. The team defeated SMU in three straight games, winning 30-23, 30-22, and 32-30 in the season opener. Bishop shined, recording 15 kills along with 15 digs, while Kramer added eight digs and Fair notched 39 assists. Junior blocker Joanna Weiss led the team with five blocks and junior Alaina Town added eight kills to seal the win for the Red. The victory also had added sentimental value, as last year’s season opener saw the Red lose to the very same SMU team at the Cal State Northridge tournament.
“Last year they beat us in our first game of the season,” Fair said. “We just wanted to go out and beat them like they beat us.”
The Friday night game saw Cornell lose its first match in nail-biting fashion, as the Red fell short three-games-to-two to Charlotte. The team jumped out to a two-games-to-one lead with scores of 38-40, 30-15, and 30-20, before losing the final games 27-30 and 14-16. Game one was recorded as the longest game in Cornell history, as the lead changed hands six times over the game’s final 20 points. Bishop led the team’s attack with 26 kills, 11 digs, and nine blocks, one block shy of a triple-double. Junior transfer Thais Mirela added 10 kills, junior Katie Rademacher recorded 11 of the team’s 18 blocks, and Kramer hammered six service aces.
Cornell’s toughest task of the weekend came against a well-balanced Duke team that outplayed the Red 3-1 in the Cornell’s final game of the tournament. The Blue Devils took a game one lead, winning 30-24, before the Red tied it up one game apiece, winning 30-27. The last two games saw Cornell struggle against a solid defensive Duke team, with the Red coming up short in both final games by a score of 30-24. Bishop, along with Mirela and junior Kristen Hughes kept the Red in the contest, with Bishop recording 20 kills. Mirela and Hughes added 16 and 10 digs, respectively. Junior Rachel Adomat and Weiss both had nine kills for the Red.
Despite tough losses to Charlotte and Duke, the Red are extremely optimistic about this season after they tied with three other teams for first place in Ivy League competition and came two points away from a national tournament berth last year.
“We’re definitely at a better starting point than we were at last year and I think that really showed this weekend,” Kramer said. “Charlotte and Duke are both very good teams. We came out of this weekend a better team and we know what we need to work on.”
Archived article by Tim Kuhls
Sun Staff Writer