Cornell volleyball remains undefeated in Ivy League play after defeating Dartmouth and Harvard over the weekend on its first two-stop Ivy League road trip of the season. The Red defeated Dartmouth, 3-1, and handed Harvard its seventh straight loss in a 3-1 victory.
On Friday, junior outside hitters Elizabeth Bishop and Thais Mirela led the offensive attack against Dartmouth (10-8, 3-5 Ivy), as both players recorded double-doubles. Bishop sparkled as she notched 24 kills and 15 digs, while Mirela chipped in with 10 kills and 11 digs – good enough for her third double-double performance in her last four matches. Senior middle blocker Heather Young, who has been outstanding at the net as of late, contributed with eight blocks and recorded a career-high five service aces. Sophomore Amy Gordon, who shared the setting duties with senior Whitney Fair, led the team with 53 assists.
“We had a balanced offense that night,” Collins said. “Everyone played pretty steady. Liz is finally starting to get into her rhythm.”
Saturday afternoon was a telling day for the Red (14-3, 7-0 Ivy). Against Harvard (3-15, 0-8 Ivy), Cornell was led again by Bishop’s 22 kills and 15 digs. Gordon also shined by playing her best all-around game of the season as she recorded 54 assists, nine digs, five kills, and tallied three service aces. Junior Alaina Town and senior Rachel Adomat both added 11 kills apiece while senior libero Kelly Kramer attended to her dirty work on defense, pitching in 14 digs.
The Red struggled in game one as it committed three attack errors in giving the Crimson a 7-5 advantage at the start of the first game. The teams played evenly until Harvard rattled off eight consecutive points to take a 27-14 lead. Cornell then scored nine of the next 10 points before coming up short, losing the match point by way of an error for a final score of 23-30.
“Harvard didn’t feel like a bottom of the Ivy League team,” Collins said. “They’re just young. They exploited us at some points early on in the match. They had some injuries early on in the season so they did some things that we hadn’t seen them do [on tape].”
After the early scare, Cornell regrouped and went on to hammer the Crimson, winning the next three games 30-20, 30-22, and 30-21.
In game two Cornell jumped out to a 15-11 lead thanks to a kill from junior Joanna Weiss and a service ace by Young. After Harvard took a time out, the Crimson cut the lead to one on kills by Katie Turley-Molony. The two teams traded points until the Red put the game out of reach by going on a six -point run to extend their lead to 23-16. Cornell would go on to win the game and tie the match 1-1.
Game three proved to be very similar, as the game was tied at 15 before the Red scored three quick points on two momentum changing kills from Bishop, Gordon, and a Harvard missed set. The Red then scored two more points and held on to the lead until the end, taking the overall match lead, 2-1.
Cornell closed it out in game four, coming from behind as it tied the game at eight because of a Young kill and a Crimson ball control error. Gordon gave the Red the lead with two service aces and Bishop then added a decisive kill to seal the Crimson’s fate.
The Red remains in first place atop the Ivy League standings as it currently clings to a one-game lead over Yale.
“Now is the hard part,” Collins said. “We are the team everyone is gunning for now. We kind of gave some teams confidence in thinking we are beatable by giving away two games over the weekend. Now we need to prove ourselves all over again.”
Archived article by Tim Kuhls
Sun Staff Writer