While fall break includes travel for much of the Cornell campus, there probably were not too many students who did more traveling than the Cornell volleyball team.
Playing three road contests in a four-day span, the Red (8-6, 3-1 Ivy) defeated both Brown (5-11, 1-3 Ivy) and Columbia (5-8, 0-4 Ivy), but dropped its first conference match of the season to Yale (9-4, 4-0 Ivy) between the two victories.
The trip began Friday evening in Providence, R.I., as Cornell survived a marathon contest to top the Bears 30-25, 25-30, 30-26, 29-31 and 15-11. On Saturday, the Red stayed within striking distance of the Bulldogs through much of the match but eventually succumbed 30-25, 30-26 and 30-27. Finally, with a 30-28, 30-16 and 30-21 victory, Cornell secured a sweep of its season series against the Lions in a rare Monday night contest.
“It was good to see our team bounce back from the Yale loss so strongly,” said head coach Deitre Collins-Parker. “I’m definitely proud of the team after winning two out of three on the road this weekend. We have two more road games this weekend and, if we can win those, it should make the rest of schedule a lot easier for us while playing at home.”
Against Brown, seniors Elizabeth Bishop and Joanna Weiss had impressive games at the net. Bishop, the Red’s co-captain, led the team with 19 kills while also adding 13 digs and surpassing the career 200 block assist mark with four blocks. Weiss, continuing to hit with impressive accuracy, collected 17 kills on a .367 attack percentage.
Setters Amy Gordon and Hilary Holland combined for 70 assists, while freshman libero Megan Mushovic led the Red with a career-high 27 digs. Senior middle blocker Katie Rademacher also put together a strong all-around effort with eight blocks, seven kills and six digs.
Though holding a slight .219 – .200 advantage over Brown in hitting percentage for the entire match, Cornell managed to extend that margin to .292 – .172 in the deciding game of the match, keying its victory.
“That was a real big win for us,” Collins-Parker said. “After dropping that fourth game, it seemed like Brown was really on a roll. But we really picked it up and played well in that last game.”
In the contest against Yale the next night, both Bishop and Weiss again put up strong performances. However, the Red committed 10 more overall errors than the Bulldogs, leading to the team’s ultimate demise.
“We never got to the level to beat them,” Collins-Parker said. “Bishop played very well though … and no one can stop [Weiss].”
Bishop finished the match with a team-high 20 kills on a .326 attack percentage while Weiss contributed 14 kills off of .500 hitting. Senior Alex Dyer also had a big game at the net with 13 kills.
In the back row, Mushovic and Bishop collected 16 and 14 digs, respectively. Meanwhile, Gordon had 27 assists while Holland had 22.
Cornell’s duo of setters also each collected more than 20 assists in Monday’s win at Columbia as Holland picked up 27 assists and Gordon was right behind her with 24.
Altogether, after the close first game, the Red cruised to the victory with a strong overall team effort as five different Cornell players posted double-digit kills.
Both senior Alaina Town and sophomore Kathryn Woodbury had one of their strong performances of the year. Town had 12 kills with a .476 attack percentage, while Woodbury earned a career-high 10 kills while hitting .571. Also, Weiss again exhibited incredible efficiency at the net, needing just 13 swings to collect 10 kills on the day.
“Overall, our offense played really well the entire weekend,” said Collins-Parker. “We realized, though, that our blocking has to be better and we also need to figure out how to beat Yale.”